Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx addressed the Jussie Smollett case for the first time since special prosecutor Dan Webb revived the prosecution of the actor and alleged hate crime hoaxer.
Foxx sat down with ABC7 for an interview that aired on Monday.
ABC7’s Craig Wall asked Foxx if she believed Smollett was lying about the claim he made in Jan. 2019, when he said he was the victim of a hate crime perpetrated by racist supporters of President Donald Trump.
Foxx, who is currently running for reelection, paused and smiled before saying: “Listen, Mr. Smollett is the subject of a criminal case right now, I can’t speak to the merits of that case.”
Chicago police expended numerous man-hours looking into Smollett’s claims of being attacked. But they arrested him a month later, accusing the actor of paying two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack in an effort to use the notoriety to advance his career.
In March, Foxx’s office charged Smollett in a 16-count indictment only to dismiss the charges three weeks later as part of an unofficial “plea deal” with the actor. He agreed to perform 16 hours of community service and pay $10,000 for legal fees.
Wall challenged Foxx on whether her office’s decision not to require Smollett to admit guilt as part of the deal contributed to the ensuing public outcry over the dismissal of charges against him.
“As I’ve said, this case is being litigated,” Foxx said.
Foxx also declined to answer whether she had approved the press release put out by her campaign last week, in which the timing of Webb’s re-filed charges against Smollett is described as “James Comey-like.”
Foxx insisted local residents would see past her handling of the Smollett case and judge her on her criminal justice reform record.
“The people of Cook County who live in neighborhoods that have been devastated by violence want us to talk about what are we going to do to make sure that communities are safe,” she said.
“The vacating of wrongful convictions has been something I’ve been particularly proud of,” Foxx added.
“The work that we’ve done on marijuana legalization and the expungement of what will be over 100,000 records here in Cook County.”