Kim Foxx, the prosecutor who dropped the disorderly conduct charges against Jussie Smollett, explained the circumstances that allowed for the case's dismissal in an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune. The Cook County state’s attorney defended her office's decision to drop the 16 felony counts, noting that she welcomes an outside investigation into the matter, should it lack political motivation.
Smollett was previously accused of staging a hate crime against himself in January, after he told police that he was attacked by two masked Trump supporters on account of him being an openly gay black man. Upon unveiling incriminating evidence that suggested he had orchestrated the entire thing, the actor was arrested on 16 counts of disorderly conduct. However, on March 26, prosecutors dropped all charges against Smollett following an emergency hearing.
"There was considerable evidence, uncovered in large part due to the investigative work of the Chicago Police Department, suggesting that portions of Smollett’s claims may have been untrue and that he had direct contact with his so-called attackers," Foxx wrote. She then reiterated that the Empire actor has not been exonerated nor has he been found innocent, rather the evidence uncovered and the testimony provided "made securing a conviction against Smollett uncertain."
As she's previously noted, Foxx explained that given the classification of Smollett's charges, it is common for the sentencing to be relatively minor. Smollett's charge was a Class 4 felony, which legally equates the severity of his crime to that of a false fire alarm. "These felonies are routinely resolved, particularly in cases involving suspects with no prior criminal record, long before a case ever nears a courtroom and often without either jail time or monetary penalties."
Foxx's op-ed arrives after the police superintendent, Eddie Johnson, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel denounced the prosecutor's decision to drop the charges against Smollett, calling it a "whitewash of justice" and insinuating that government corruption may have played a role. Emanuel also reportedly sent Smollett a bill for $130,000, a move he announced to the press, to cover the cost of the police investigation into the alleged attack.
"As a public figure, Smollett’s alleged unstable actions have probably caused him more harm than any court-ordered penance could," Foxx wrote. "Our criminal justice system is at its best when jails are used to protect us from the people we rightly fear, while alternative outcomes are reserved for the people who make us angry but need to learn the error of their ways without seeing their lives irrevocably destroyed."