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New Materials Suggest Chicago Prosecutors Let Jussie Smollett Slide Over Concerns He Was Overshadowing R. Kelly Case

A trove of documents, obtained by CWB Chicago through the Freedom of Information Act, seem to show that Chicago prosecutor Kim Foxx believed the Jussie Smollett “hate crime” case was a “distraction” from more important matters, and was drawing attention away from her office’s prosecution of hip-hop mogul turned accused sexual predator, R. Kelly, motivating her and her colleagues to give Smollett a free pass on 16 counts of lying to Chicago police.
CWB Chicago “received nearly 4,000 pages of messages sent to Foxx’s personal cell phone and Gmail account” in an effort to uncover Foxx’s rationale behind inking a “plea deal” with the former “Empire” actor, dropping all 16 charges in return for little more than a dozen hours of community service and a forefeited bond check.
The “plea deal,” which did not involve Smollett admitting guilt over orchestrating an alleged “hoax hate crime” was so scandalous that authorities eventually appointed a special prosecutor to probe the situation and, earlier this month, the special prosecutor revived six counts against Smollett and announced he was not finished investigating Foxx’s office over the matter.
CWB Chicago’s trove includes a host of messages sent in “Foxxhole,” a private group text between Foxx and members of her staff. “Foxxhole members routinely share top news stories related to the office’s priorities. Marijuana conviction reform, crooked cops, and stories about other jurisdictions’ progressive prosecutors are prime fodder for the group,” CWB reports.
But in the days before Smollett’s alleged attack, Foxxhole was abuzz with links and praise for Foxx’s decision to arrest and prosecute R. Kelly. “The Kelly story was generating national headlines for Foxx and her office in January 2019. And the Foxxhole filled with links to media coverage.”
Suddenly, though, all that media coverage ground to a halt — and, it seems, Foxxhole wasn’t happy about it. Smollett’s attack, which took place in late January of 2019, “barely made a blip in the provided communications” and days later, Foxx herself would label the situation a “distraction” from more important matters, like R. Kelly.
“[O]n Feb. 1,” CWB reports, “Foxx personally called the Smollett case ‘a distraction’ she ‘[didn’t] want to waste any capital on’ as she tried to get the investigation moved from her office and CPD into the federal system. ‘I’m just trying to help move this along,’ she wrote.”
Foxx was, apparently, referring to coversations she’d had with a former Obama Administration official who’d been communicating privately with Smollett’s family and who suggested Foxx should move the case from CPD’s hands into the FBI’s. The FBI declined, though it is still, based on information available at the moment, investigating whether Smollett abused the United States Postal Service.
Talk returned to R. Kelly until early March, when Smollett was charged with 16 counts of lying to Chicago cops. The night Smollett was charged, Foxx was still trying to refocus her office’s efforts on R. Kelly, referring to Smollett as a “washed up celeb who lied to cops.”
Foxx’s team clearly underestimated the magnitute of Smollett’s case from the moment it surfaced. After Foxx sent her final text, Smollett’s “plea deal” became national headlines, Chicago defendants complained that Smollett received preferential treatment, the city of Chicago announced it would seek restitution from Smollett for wasted police department man hours, and, finally, authorities would appoint the special prosecutor, resurfacing the case and writing Foxx out of the story almost completely.
Foxx is facing a difficult re-election campaign and, on Tuesday, Illinois voters will determine whether she will return to office.

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