Chicago lawyer Tina Tchen refused to accept a subpoena on Wednesday related to a retired Illinois judge’s attempts to investigate her communications with Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx regarding the case of former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett.
Former Illinois Appellate Judge Sheila O’Brien issued a subpoena demanding that Tchen, who used to serve as former first lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, attend a May 31 hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago.
O’Brien called for Tchen to bring “any and all documents, notes, phone records, texts, tape recordings made or received at any time, concerning [Tchen’s] conversations with Kim Foxx in re: Jussie Smollett,” according to the New York Post.
“Edward Ryan, who operates a private investigation firm in the southwest suburbs, said one of his process servers went to Tchen’s law firm in River North on Wednesday, but she refused to come to the lobby to accept the subpoena,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The process server told O’Brien a security guard at Tchen’s firm “called up to her and spoke with her and she said that she in [sic] never going to accept service and to not allow me up to their Law firm,” according to an email obtained by Fox News.
Ryan claimed Tchen “said she knew about” the subpoena, but would not come down to be served.
“I don’t know why she’d turn it down. She’ll be served eventually,” Ryan told the Sun-Times.
WBBM reporter Charlie De Mar posted a copy of the subpoena to his Twitter account.
Here is a copy of the subpoena intended for Tina Tchen. pic.twitter.com/PqWlPqndmt
— Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) May 22, 2019
Tchen reached out to Foxx during the Smollett investigation over “concerns” from the actor’s family.
Smollett, who is gay and black, claimed that he had been the victim of a homophobic and racially motivated hate crime in late January.
“I wanted to give you a call on behalf of Jussie Smollett and family who I know. They have concerns about the investigation,” Tchen wrote in a Feb. 1 text message to Foxx that was obtained and published by the Sun-Times in March.
“Spoke to the [Chicago Police] Superintendent [Eddie] Johnson,” Foxx wrote in an email to Tchen on Feb. 20, according to the Sun-Times. “I convinced him to reach out to FBI to ask that they take over the investigation. He is reaching out now and will get to me shortly.”
A spokesperson for Foxx announced just a day before that she was recusing herself from the case.
Smollett was eventually charged with 16 felony counts alleging that he faked the attack and lied to law enforcement, but the charges were surprisingly dropped in March.
Tchen has previously denied trying to influence the Smollett case.
“Shortly after Mr. Smollett reported he was attacked, as a family friend, I contacted Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who I also know from prior work together,” she said in March, according to Fox News.
“My sole activity was to put the chief prosecutor in the case in touch with an alleged victim’s family who had concerns about how the investigation was being characterized in public,” she added.
In addition to Tchen, O’Brien wants Foxx and First Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Joseph Magats to appear in court as well.
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