Prosecutor asks for ‘independent review’ into handling of Smollett case
Kim Foxx, Chicago’s top prosecutor, has asked the Cook County inspector general to investigate her office’s handling of Jussie Smollett’s criminal case, a spokesperson from Foxx’s office confirmed Friday.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office dropped 16 felony charges against the “Empire” actor, who was accused of staging a hate crime against himself in Chicago. Smollett agreed to forfeit $10,000 in bail and do community service. Inspector General Patrick Blanchard will be conducting the investigation.
“Ensuring that I and my office have the community’s trust and confidence is paramount to me, which is why I invited an independent review of this matter,” Foxx said in a statement provided to CNN. “I welcome this investigation and pledge my full cooperation and the cooperation of my office as IG Blanchard conducts his review.”
Blanchard also released a statement confirming his office was “pursuing an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the resolution of criminal charges in the Smollet case.”
Blanchard told CNN Friday that Foxx requested his office review their handling of the Smollett case this week and he has no idea how long that investigation will take.
“We are proceeding immediately with this matter, but it is difficult to forecast the length at this juncture,” Blanchard said, adding he’s never been asked by Foxx to review the findings of a state’s attorney’s case. He said the report will either be made public directly after the review or addressed in a quarterly report that will be made public.
Calls for Foxx’s resignation are personal, she says
The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and a suburban police chiefs association called for Foxx’s resignation after holding votes of no confidence April 4. The vote took place more than a week after Foxx’s office dropped all charges against Smollett. FOP President Kevin Graham said dropping the charges undermined the public’s faith in the criminal justice system.
Days later at an event with Rev. Jesse Jackson, Foxx said calls for her resignation run deeper than the Jussie Smollett case.
“I think we have to ask ourselves what is this really about? I’ve been asking myself for the last two weeks, ‘What is this really about?'” Foxx said. “I will tell you this is personal, it’s personal.”
Foxx has previously said she welcomes an “outside, nonpolitical review” into how her office handled the Smollett case. She had separated herself from decision-making in the case in mid-February out of “an abundance of caution.”
CNN’s Melissa Alonso, Brad Parks and Dave Alsup contributed to this report.