Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx expressed frustration over what she believed were excessive charges against Jussie Smollett. But it seems she was also convinced that 36-year-old actor was guilty of lying to police.
On Monday, Foxx's office released internal text messages and emails pertaining to the Smollett case, in which he was accused of orchestrated his own hate crime attack in late January. The documents obtained the Chicago Tribune include a text conversation between Foxx and First Assistant Joseph Magats. The messages were sent on March 8, shortly before authorities announced Smollett's 16-count indictment.
"Sooo…...I’m recused, but when people accuse us of overcharging cases...16 counts on a class 4 (felony) becomes exhibit A," she wrote.
After Magats agreed that the indictment could be viewed as "excessive," Foxx underscored her concerns by comparing Smollett's indictment to R. Kelly's sexual abuse case.
"Pedophile with 4 victims 10 counts. Washed up celeb who lied to cops, 16 (counts)," she wrote. "… Just because we can charge something doesn’t mean we should ... It's not who we want to be."
You can see screenshots of the text conversation, posted by TMZ, here. The publication also posted a response from Foxx. "After the indictment became public, I reached out to Joe to discuss reviewing office policies to assure consistencies in our charging and our use of appropriate charging authority," the statement, which was given by a spokeswoman, reads. "I was elected to bring criminal justice reform and that includes intentionality, consistency, and discretion. I will continue to uphold these guiding principals."
Smollett was slapped with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for filing a false police report about an alleged assault that occurred Jan. 29 in Chicago. The Empire star told authorities he had been attacked by two masked white men who shouted racist, homophobic slurs and a reference to Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan. Law enforcement began investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, but after conducting a number of interviews and reviewing phone records, bank statements, and surveillance video, authorities concluded Smollett had lied about the attack.
"And why? The stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary. So he concocted a story about being attacked," Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said during a February press conference.
Despite investigators' conclusion, the Illinois state attorney's office ultimately dropped all charges against Smollett. But that doesn't mean he's completely in the clear. Earlier this month, it was confirmed that the City of Chicago filed a lawsuit against the actor over costs associated with the hate crime investigation. Officials claims that because of the probe, the city had to pay officers a total of $130,106.15 in overtime. The city is demanding a reimbursement; Smollett's attorney insists the actor will not pay.
In other Smollett-related the news, the actor was reportedly cut from the Broadway revival of Take Me Out. Sources told the Daily Mail Smollett had been tapped to play the main character Darren Lemming, and had read for the part just hours before he reported the alleged attack to police.
"Everything was set to go and the producers were planning to announce that Jussie and Zachary Quinto were starring in the play last month," an insider told the publication. "Everyone was so supportive after the attack and then suddenly, everything shifted."