The guilty verdicts issued following the trial of actor Jussie Smollett in Chicago are not the last word in the events surrounding the fake claims of a hate crime. Special prosecutor Dan Webb has now released his report on prosecutor Kim Foxx and her handling of the case while she was in charge. Webb did not find any criminal violations by Foxx but did find a series of irregular acts and alleged ethical problems. Webb specifically found that allowing Smollett to enter into an “alternative agreement” amounted to abusing Foxx’s prosecutorial discretion.
Foxx received sharp criticism over her decision to drop charges against Smollett in March 2019. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson both expressed great concern that the actor was being allowed to avoid prosecution even as he maintained his false story of a hate crime assault on the city’s streets.
Foxx claimed that she was recusing herself from the Smollett case because of her familiarity with at least some of the witnesses in the matter. Later, she did not follow the normal recusal process and contacted the prosecutors working on the case. Official concern about how the case was handled led to Webb’s appointment, and he successfully took the charges against Smollett to trial.
In an interview on Tuesday, Webb said that Foxx’s handling of the case was a “disgrace.” He said that the decision to dismiss the case with no plea, giving Smollett a “complete pass,” was what “caused this whole thing.”
Webb’s report indicates that Foxx claimed that she was “surprised” by her office’s final decision to drop the case, but it was done to avoid having “throngs of people” come to court for a “circus trial.” Webb stated that “Foxx agreed with him in his interview” was not a valid reason for dropping the matter. He also said that “Foxx agreed that dropping charges” in light of what Smollett did to the city “shortchanged” accountability.
The special prosecutor’s report also shows that no official in Foxx’s office was willing to take responsibility for dropping the Smollett case personally. The two prosecutors who Foxx left in charge of the case laid blame on each other. Each said the other had handled the negotiations with Smollett’s attorneys.
Even after the Smollett controversy was made public, Foxx won re-election in 2020 with 54 percent of the vote.