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Law & the Courts

Judge Slams Kim Foxx For Double Standard in Smollett Case: ‘Your Office Created This Mess’

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in Chicago, Ill., February 23, 2019 (Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters)

A Cook County judge recently castigated State’s Attorney Kim Foxx for upholding a double standard by prosecuting an anonymous woman for filing a false police report after dropping all charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett, who was indicted for the same offense.

Smollett was indicted by a grand jury on sixteen charges earlier this year following an extensive investigation that yielded substantial evidence that he paid two associates to attack him in the middle of the night in order to elevate his public profile.

Foxx’s office then dropped all charges without requiring that Smollett admit guilt, despite the strenuous objections of the Chicago Police Department and the mayor’s office. Foxx’s office, in explaining the decision, cited Smollett’s record of community service and the fact that no one was physically harmed in the commission of his alleged crime.

Cook County judge Marc Martin, while presiding over an unrelated case, chastised Foxx and her office for creating an untenable situation in which anyone charged with filing a false police report should expect to be granted the leniency afforded to Smollett.

“Well, Ms. Clark is not a movie star, she doesn’t have a high-price lawyer, although, her lawyer’s very good. And this smells, big time. I didn’t create this mess, your office created this mess. And your explanation is unsatisfactory to this court. She’s being treated differently,” Martin said to Foxx during a recent court proceeding, according to a transcript obtained by a local Fox affiliate.

“There’s no publicity on this case. She doesn’t have Mark Geragos as her lawyer or Ron Safer or Judge Brown,” Martin continued. “It’s not right. And [if] I proceed in this matter, you’re just digging yourselves further in a hole. [If the] press gets a hold of this, it’ll be in a newspaper. Why is Ms. Clark being treated differently than Mr. Smollett?”

Foxx recused herself from the Smollett case in February but continued to oversee the investigation through her correspondence with her assistant, Joseph Magats. In a series of text messages sent in early March and obtained by the Chicago Tribune, Foxx cautions Magats against appearing overzealous in their prosecution of Smollett.

“Sooo……I’m recused, but when people accuse us of overcharging cases…16 counts on a class 4 becomes exhibit A,” Foxx wrote to Magats on March 8.

“Pedophile with 4 victims 10 counts. Washed up celeb who lied to cops, 16. 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, referring to the case of disgraced pop singer R. Kelly.

Smollett continues to maintain his innocence and has said he is considering suing the Chicago police for damages. The fate of Smollett’s tenure on the hit show Empire remains unclear, but his co-stars Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard are demanding that he appear on the show’s next season.

“Together, as a united front, we stand with Jussie Smollett and ask that our co-star, brother and friend be brought back for our sixth season of Empire,” the show’s top cast said in a statement released this week.

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