Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx defended Wednesday her office’s decision to drop the charges against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett the day before, saying there’s been “a lot of confusion” around the case.
“There’s some people who were never gonna be satisfied unless Mr. Smollett spent many nights in prison, and then there were others who believed that the charging of 16 counts of disorderly conduct was excessive,” Foxx told NPR. “And so I think this is allowing us an opportunity to be able to look at how do we do these cases overall?”
Smollett was charged in relation to allegations he filed a false police report claiming he was the victim of a racist and homophobic assault. On Tuesday, the state’s attorney’s office announced it would drop all charges, citing “the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson blasted that decision, with Emanuel calling the decision a “whitewash.”
“Do I think justice was served? No,” Johnson said.
“Right now, there’s a lot of emotion,” Fox said Wednesday. “And I wholeheartedly believe that in our work we cannot be driven by emotions. We have to be driven by facts.”
In an internal memo Wednesday morning, the state’s attorney’s office asked supervisors to find other cases of charges being dismissed similar to those of Smollett.
NEW: Internal memo sent this morning to Supervisors at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, as the office looks to manage the fallout #Smollett pic.twitter.com/AQD8da27Hp
— Mary Ann Ahern (@MaryAnnAhernNBC) March 27, 2019
“We are looking for examples of cases, felony preferable, where we, in excersing [sic] our discretion, have entered into verbal agreements with defense attorneys to dismiss charges against an offender if certain conditions were met, such as the payment of restitution, completion of community service, completion of class, etc., but the defendant was not placed in a formal diversion program,” the memo reads. “Please ask your ASAs if they have examples of these types of dispositions and we will work with them to figure out on what case it was done.”
The state’s attorney’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the memo from The Hill.