Kim Foxx, the embattled Chicago state’s attorney whose office has come under fire for its handling of the Jussie Smollett case, has asked the local inspector general to conduct an “independent review” of their investigation, she confirmed in a statement.
The news comes the day after the city’s law department announced that they are suing Smollett to recoup the amount that they had to spend in order to cover the overtime of police officers during the investigation.
Smollet’s case has sparked a firestorm ever since news broke of the Jan. 29 alleged attack. Controversy was further stoked when police alleged the incident was a hoax and ultimately when prosecutors dropped the charges against the actor.
Foxx said that she “invited” the inspector general, Patrick Blanchard, to look into her office’s handling of the case, which involved the “Empire” actor’s claims of being a victim of a hate crime that police alleged was a hoax.
“A former prosecutor, Inspector General Blanchard has been conducting independent inquiries for Cook County for over a decade,” Foxx wrote in her statement.
“Ensuring that I and my office have the community’s trust and confidence is paramount to me, which is why I invited an independent review of this matter. I welcome this investigation and pledge my full cooperation and the cooperation of my office as IG Blanchard conducts his review.”
For her part, Chicago’s Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot suggested that the city’s attention should be on other issues.
“We’ve got a lot of things on our plate, a lot of pressing issues that are truly effecting peoples’ lives,” Lightfoot said Friday. “This doesn’t rank as a matter of any importance to me.”
The decision to review the case comes after the decision by the state’s attorney’s office to drop all 16 felony disorderly conduct charges against Smollett.
Foxx said she recused herself about a week before Smollett was formally charged after consulting her office’s chief ethics officer about a phone call she received from Tina Tchen, the one-time chief of staff for former first lady Michelle Obama, asking on behalf of Smollett’s family about the status of the case. She said she later spoke to a relative of Smollett’s whom she would not identify.
So the final decision to dismiss charges against Smollett fell on Cook County First Assistant State’s Attorney Joe Magats.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson have blasted the decision to dismiss the charges.
The FBI is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of the criminal charges against Smollett, two law enforcement sources briefed on the matter told ABC News. The sources insisted it is not an investigation, but a “review.”
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