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Kim Foxx Admits Failures in Jussie Smollett Case: ‘I Didn’t Handle It Well. I Own That’

Cook County, Ill., prosecutor Kim Foxx speaks to media members at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago, February 23, 2019. (Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters)

In her reelection video for Cook County State Attorney released Tuesday, Kim Foxx concedes that she mishandled the high-profile prosecution of Empire actor Jussie Smollett.

“The truth is, I didn’t handle it well,” Foxx says in the video. “I own that.”

“I’m making changes in my office to make sure we do better,” she adds. “That’s what reform is about.”

In the video, Foxx goes on to say that “those attacks aren’t just about one case, they’re about stopping progress in Cook County . . . we’re on the right path to reforming criminal justice in Cook County, and making the system work for everyone.”

Citing his record of community service and the technically victimless nature of his alleged crime, Foxx dropped all charges against Smollett in March after he was indicted by a grand jury for allegedly staging a bigoted and politically-motivated hate crime against himself with the help of two friends who were paid for their services.

Following the news, an anonymous attorney in Foxx’s office slammed the decision in a letter provided to CWB Chicago.

“This case was handled markedly different from any other case at 26th Street. No one knows why, and more importantly, no one can explain why our boss, the head prosecutor of all of Cook County, has decided to so demean and debase both our hard work, and our already tenuous relationship with the Chicago Police Department,” the attorney’s letter read.

The state later appointed a special prosecutor to examine Foxx’s decision after text messages showed that Foxx continued weighing in on the case in conversations with her deputy after announcing that she had recused herself from the investigation due to public misperceptions that she had personal relationships with members of the Smollett family. Later, Foxx tried to explain that she had not recused herself “in the legal sense.”

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