Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx labeled Jussie Smollett a “washed up celeb who lied to cops” in a series of texts exchanged with fellow prosecutor Joe Magats just two weeks before all charges against the Empire star were dropped.
Foxx, who recused herself from the case, spoke to Magats about the Smollett case and appeared to reference the case of another Chicago celebrity — singer R. Kelly — comparing the two men’s charges, as per The Daily Mail.
In the messages, the attorney wrote, “Pedophile with 4 victims 10 counts. Washed up celeb who lied to cops, 16.”
She said that after mentioning that people “accuse” the Chicago State’s Attorney department of “overcharging cases,” to which Magats replied, “‘Yes. I can see where that can be seen as excessive.”
The case against 36-year-old Smollett, who claimed to be the victim of a hate crime that the Chicago police believe he orchestrated, was suddenly dropped in an unexpected turn of events last month. Foxx has been facing calls to resign over her handling of the case, and thousands of texts and emails about the case were made public by her office on Tuesday. While she recused herself from the high-profile case on February 19, messages dating back to March 8 appear to show that she was still involved in how the charges were being handled by her office.
“On a case eligible for deferred prosecution I think it’s indicative of something we should be looking at generally. Just because we can charge something doesn’t mean we should,” she added in the text exchange, to which Magats replied that he “agreed.”
When the latter said he and his fellow prosecutors should take “a hard look” at how they can charge cases in a way that wouldn’t become “excessive,” Foxx agreed and said, “it’s not who we want to be.”
Just a couple of weeks later, all 16 charges against the TV actor were dropped. Foxx later said in a statement that she spoke to her colleague to “discuss reviewing office policies to assure consistencies in our charging and our use of appropriate charging authority,” according to CBS Chicago.
Other text messages also show how her office didn’t anticipate the scale of the response to their decision to drop the Smollett case, but that they all stood by the move as it was “the right decision.” Smollett continues to deny his involvement in the attack, but Chicago P.D. claims he paid two Nigerian brothers to stage the violent encounter.