Latest Smollett Twist: Cook County Top Prosecutor Refuses To Take on Case Herself


It seems that the story surrounding the hate crime allegedly perpetrated against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has a new and unexpected development virtually every day, and the twists keep coming.

WFLD, the local Fox affiliate in Chicago, reported on Tuesday that the top prosecutor in the Chicago area, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, had officially recused herself from the Smollett case.

That recusal means that any future prosecution of Smollett — who is now believed to have staged the alleged homophobic and racist attack against himself as a hoax — would be handled by Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats.

The announcement of the recusal drew some rather snarky fire from Foxx’s predecessor in that state’s attorney office.

Former State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, who lost a Democratic primary to Foxx in 2016, wrote in a post to Facebook:

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“Maybe I should have just recused myself from the difficult cases that came across my desk when I was State’s Attorney. I was under the impression that when the voters elected me and I took my oath of office it meant I had to do my job.”

It remained unclear Wednesday why Foxx felt the need to recuse herself from the case, but odds are the decision was made for reasons more significant than simply trying to avoid a tough case, as was posited by Alvarez.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported on a brief statement released by Foxx’s office that may shed some light on why she felt the need to recuse herself from the Smollett case.

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“Out of an abundance of caution, the decision to recuse herself was made to address potential questions of impartiality based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case,” explained a spokesperson from Foxx’s office.

Though Foxx’s office declined to provide any further details on the recusal, the Sun-Times noted that there was a connection between Foxx and at least one of Smollett’s attorneys.

Records from the Illinois Board of Elections showed that one of Smollett’s lawyers, Vic Henderson, had donated at least $250 to Foxx’s election campaign in 2016, which could be viewed by some as a potential conflict of interest.

As such a small donation seems unlikely to force a recusal — even out of an “abundance of caution” — it is not out of the question to speculate as to whether Foxx has greater ties to the case than just that, such as a potential relationship with Smollett himself, or the two brothers alleged to have aided him in the possible hoax, or potentially even relationships with other politicians that are similarly linked to Smollett in some form or fashion.

Regardless, it would appear that Foxx has deftly sidestepped this issue, and the case will now be handled by her assistant, Magats.

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(Given Smollett’s claim that his assailants shouted “This is MAGA country” while attacking him, and how the left routinely disparage President Donald Trump’s supporters as “MAGAts” — likening them to maggots — the name of the assistant state’s attorney taking over the case is incredibly ironic.)

In other related news, WFLD reported that the two brothers of Nigerian descent who were reportedly involved in the Smollett incident were spotted entering and later leaving the Cook County courthouse on Tuesday, where it is believed that they met and are cooperating with police and prosecutors.

Indeed, the attorney for the brothers — Gloria Schmidt — was spotted leaving the “Grand Jury” room, though she provided no comment to reporters and the police said the brothers hadn’t testified before a grand jury against Smollett.

Separately, Smollett’s trouble may only be growing larger, as in addition to now being viewed as the potential perpetrator of a hoax physical assault against himself, federal authorities are now investigating whether a threatening letter the actor received about a week prior to the alleged assault was also a hoax planned by Smollett to garner attention.

If true, Smollett could then face federal felony charges, likely for mail fraud or something similar, on top of the potential felony charges in Chicago for filing a false report and wasting valuable and limited law enforcement resources on a non-existent crime.

Either way, things aren’t shaping up too well for Smollett going forward.

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Ben Marquis is a writer who identifies as a constitutional conservative/libertarian. He has written about current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. His focus is on protecting the First and Second Amendments.
Ben Marquis has written on current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. He reads voraciously and writes about the news of the day from a conservative-libertarian perspective. He is an advocate for a more constitutional government and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, which protects the rest of our natural rights. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with the love of his life as well as four dogs and four cats.
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