Report details ‘failure’ in handling of 1st Smollett case

Dec 20, 2021, 11:11 AM | Updated: 6:45 pm

CHICAGO (AP) — The initial handling of allegations that former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett had staged a fake attack in Chicago represented a “major failure of operations” by the local prosecutor’s office, according to a lawyer who was appointed to review the case.

The 68-page report released Monday detailed multiple instances of false statements by State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and others in her office in 2019, when they first prosecuted Smollett before abruptly dropping the charges weeks later.

Some of her office’s actions may be violations of legal ethics, special prosecutor Dan Webb concluded, though he found nothing criminal.

Smollett, who is Black and gay, was recently convicted of lying to police in January 2019 about what he said was a racist, homophobic attack. Webb, who took over the case, said Smollett staged the attack to get publicity. Smollett is expected to be sentenced in 2022.

Webb released a portion of the report, including its major conclusions, in 2020. The full report released Monday documents interviews with Foxx, dozens of employees in her office, Chicago police officers and friends and family members of Smollett.

Foxx had recused herself from the Smollett case before it was dropped. She told Webb’s team that she was surprised when all 16 counts against Smollett were dropped, and that she believed he should have been required to admit some wrongdoing.

Foxx also said she believed prosecutors in her office “wanted to get this guy out of town” because of the media attention that accompanied the case.

Foxx later said in a media statement that the case was dropped just like thousands of other similar cases, which Webb concluded was not true.

“The fact that such a significant mischaracterization could be asserted without sufficient vetting … is unacceptable for an office that must be transparent and maintain public confidence,” Webb’s report states.

Webb also found that Foxx improperly changed her public position about the strength of the evidence against Smollett. After calling the case against him “strong,” she wrote in a Chicago Tribune editorial shortly after the charges were dropped that securing a conviction was “uncertain.” That pivot was “false and misleading,” Webb concluded.

In response Monday, the state’s attorney’s office said it remains “steadfast that the office acted within its broad prosecutorial discretion.”

“A prosecutor’s discretion is as broad as any in the law, and differences of opinion as to how a case was handled do not signify an abuse of discretion,” the statement said.

Webb also pursued the investigation against Smollett, and a grand jury in 2020 indicted him on new charges of lying to police. A jury convicted the 39-year-old earlier this month on five of six counts of disorderly conduct, a low-level felony.

Smollett has maintained his innocence, and his attorney said they will appeal the conviction.

Judge Michael Toobin, who appointed Webb as special prosecutor, said the full report should be made public now that Smollett’s trial is complete.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Iowa motorist accused of hitting abortion rights protester

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa man faces two criminal charges accusing him of driving his vehicle through a group of abortion rights protestors in Cedar Rapids in June and striking a woman before driving away, court documents posted online Wednesday said. David Alan Huston, 53, of Swisher, is charged with assault with a […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Fencing organization, coach sued over alleged sex abuse

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal lawsuit says USA Fencing, the national governing body for the sport, failed to protect a Tennessee teenager from sexual abuse over a two-year period. The girl and her parents filed suit last month against the Colorado-based organization as well as her former coach, Robert Piraino, and the Nashville business […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Judge: Walgreens contributed to San Francisco opioid crisis

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Walgreens can be held responsible for contributing to San Francisco’s opioid crisis for over-dispensing opioids for years without proper oversight and failing to identify and report suspicious orders as required by law. San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu said the pharmacy chain “continually violated what […]
13 hours ago
A protester holds a poster depicting Russia's President Putin along with sign "Killer" during a pro...
Associated Press

Hundreds join anti-Gazprom protest in Bulgarian capital

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Hundreds of Bulgarians took to the streets of the capital Sofia Wednesday, voicing fears that the country’s caretaker government could break with the policies of its pro-Western predecessor and revert to close energy ties with Russia. The second in a planned series of protests under the slogan #GAZwithme took place in […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Closing prices for crude oil, gold and other commodities

Benchmark U.S. crude oil for September delivery rose $1.43 to $91.93 a barrel Wednesday. Brent crude for October delivery rose $1.09 to $97.40 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline for September delivery rose 11 cents to $3.07 a gallon. September heating oil rose 8 cents to $3.41 a gallon. September natural gas rose 37 cents to $8.20 […]
13 hours ago
Follow @ktar923...
Sponsored Content by Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Report details ‘failure’ in handling of 1st Smollett case