A former U.S. Attorney has been appointed by a Chicago-area judge to investigate the high-profile Jussie Smollett “hate crime hoax” case.
Sworn in Friday as a special prosecutor, Dan Webb will investigate the “entire” case, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Smollett, an actor best known for his role in Fox’s “Empire,” was indicted on filing a false police report after claiming to be the victim of a racially-motivated attack.
Judge Michael Toomin, who appointed Webb, determined in June that “the entire Smollett case may be legally invalid from start to finish,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
After State’s Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself from the investigation in April for texting members of Smollett’s family, she appointed a top deputy from her own office to take over.
That series of events prompted Toomin to search for a special prosecutor.
The judge’s search ended with Webb, whom Toomin called “a man guided by a strong moral compass and integrity.”
Webb has a series of three goals, according to the Chicago Tribune.
First, the prosecutor will determine if anyone involved in the case “engaged in any wrongdoing” — from the initial investigators to Smollett himself.
Second, he will determine whether to further prosecute the actor.
And finally, he will submit a written report of his findings.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Webb’s investigation may include “a full-blown probe” of Foxx’s decision to drop all charges against Smollett.
Foxx’s office argued against the appointment of a special prosecutor, but to no avail.
The State’s Attorney is up for re-election in 2020.
Despite the scandal, the Cook County Democratic Party Organization has already endorsed her re-election bid, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Webb has not offered a timeline for his investigation.
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