Prosecutors Working For Kamala-Mentored DA Committed “Substantial Abuses” During Smollett Investigation

Before the pandemic, we had Jussie Smollett – the former “Empire” star whose racist 2019 hate-crime hoax destroyed his career, stoked racial tensions nationwide, and cost Chicago taxpayers a reported $130,000 in police overtime thanks the MSM and prominent liberals who breathlessly reported Smollett’s lies as fact.

And according to findings by a special prosecutor tasked with investigating what looked like a massive cover-up by the Cook County DA’s office, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and her assistant prosecutors committed ‘substantial abuses of discretion,’ but did not break the law.

To review, Smollett claimed that two white Trump supporters in MAGA hats assaulted him on a freezing cold January night at 2 a.m., calling him racist and homophobic slurs before beating him up and leaving a noose around his neck (which he was wearing when police arrived). The actor said he chased the two white men off after the alleged ‘hate crime.’

Kamala Harris – who mentored Cook County DA Kim Foxx and was coincidentally working on an anti-lynching bill at the time with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), called it a ‘modern day lynching.’

Except, the ‘attackers’ turned out to be Smollett’s twin, drug-dealing, Nigerian bodybuider brothers from Nigeria – one of whom he was in a sexual relationship with. The brothers later told police Smollett paid them to stage the attack, while Smollett says they’re lying.

Trouble in paradise

Despite overwhelming evidence, including the brothers confession and video of them buying rope, Foxx’s office dropped a 16-count Grand Jury indictment against Smollett after Michelle Obama’s former Chief of Staff, Tina Tchen, called in a favor – asking that Smollett’s case be placed in the hands of the FBI.

“Spoke to the Superintendent Johnson,” Foxx told Tchen in a Feb. 1 email obtained by the Chicago Tribune, in reference to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “I convinced him to Reach out to FBI to ask that they take over the investigation.”

Tchen, who has denied trying to affect the outcome of the case, admitted to contacting Foxx and later evaded a subpoena in the case.

Did we mention Smollett’s sisters worked for the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns? Or that Smollett and Kamala Harris attended a 2018 protest together?

Jussie Smollett, Kamala Harris at 2018 protest

‘Substantial abuses’

In a Wednesday statement following the conclusion of his investigation into the Smollett case, special prosecutor Dan Webb said that Foxx and her assistant prosecutors severely mishandled the case – which was marked by chaos and false or misleading statements, as well as a legally meaningless recusal by Foxx.

To review, straight from the horse’s mouth (emphasis ours):

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The OSP developed evidence that establishes three substantial abuses of discretion and failures by the CCSAO in prosecuting and resolving the Initial Smollett Case.

  • First Finding of Abuse of Discretion: The CCSAO’s process and decision-making for resolving the Initial Smollett Case were a substantial abuse of discretion and represented a major failure of the operations of the CCSAO, including in the following ways:
    • On March 26, 2019, 19 days after filing the indictment against Mr. Smollett, the CCSAO dismissed the entire indictment against Mr. Smollett on the following terms: (1) complete dismissal of the 16-count felony indictment against Mr. Smollett; (2) no requirement that Mr. Smollett plead guilty to any criminal offense under Illinois law; (3) no requirement that Mr. Smollett admit any guilt of his wrongdoing (in fact, following the court proceedings on March 26, 2019, Mr. Smollett publicly stated he was completely innocent); (4) the only punishment for Mr. Smollett was to perform 15 hours of community service that had no relationship to the charged conduct; (5) only requiring Mr. Smollett to forfeit his $10,000 bond as restitution to the City of Chicago (a figure amounting to less than 10% of the $130,106.15 in police overtime pay that the City alleges it paid solely due to Mr. Smollett’s false statements to police); and (6) no requirement that Mr. Smollett participate in the CCSAO’s Deferred Prosecution Program (Branch 9) (“DPP”), which would have required a one-year period of court oversight over Mr. Smollett. 
    • Almost across the board, lawyers who currently work in or previously worked in the CCSAO’s criminal division who were interviewed by the OSP—including State’s Attorney Foxx—were “surprised” or “shocked” by at least some facet of the dismissal terms.
    • The CCSAO decision-makers on the Initial Smollett Case (Acting State’s Attorney Joseph Magats and Lead Prosecutor Risa Lanier) did not learn of any new evidence between when the CCSAO filed a 16-count indictment against Mr. Smollett on March 7, 2019, when the CCSAO believed it had a strong case against Mr. Smollett, and March 26, 2019, when the entire indictment was dismissed, as described above.
    • The CCSAO decision-makers on the Initial Smollett Case have significantly and meaningfully divergent explanations for how the resolution was reached, including who negotiated the terms, whether Mr. Smollett was offered the opportunity to participate in the DPP, and whether the terms of the resolution were modeled after the requirements of the DPP.
    • The terms of Mr. Smollett’s resolution do not track the requirements of the DPP.
    • The CCSAO did not screen Mr. Smollett’s case to determine if he was eligible for referral to the DPP.
    • The CCSAO did not rely upon any specific similar CCSAO cases when resolving the Initial Smollett Case. 
    • The CCSAO’s decision to advance the Initial Smollett Case from April 17, 2019 to March 26, 2019 to dismiss it minutes before conducting the dismissal hearing did not provide notice to the media or public, despite knowing there was significant interest in the case, including that the media had filed a petition to have cameras in the courtroom.  
    • Ms. Lanier read a statement during the dismissal hearing that she drafted in conjunction with Mr. Smollett’s counsel, which was atypical.
    • The CCSAO did not consult with the CPD about the terms of the resolution and intentionally chose not to alert the CPD that the case would be dismissed until minutes before the hearing, despite all of the diligent and hard work the CPD put into investigating the case and the fact that many CCSAO interviewees would have considered the CPD a victim of Mr. Smollett’s alleged crimes and/or for purposes of restitution.
  • Second Finding of Abuse of Discretion: The CCSAO engaged in a substantial abuse of discretion and breached its obligations of honesty and transparency by making false and/or misleading statements to the public regarding the nature and reasons for the dismissal of the Initial Smollett Case.  Specifically:
    • The CCSAO issued a press statement on March 26, 2019 (the day of the dismissal) that stated: “In the last two years, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has referred more than 5,700 cases for alternative prosecution.  This is not a new or unusual practice.  An alternative disposition does not mean that there were any problems or infirmities with the case or the evidence…This outcome was met under the same criteria that would occur for and is available to any defendant with similar circumstances.”  State’s Attorney Foxx and Mr. Magats made similar statements during interviews with reporters on March 26 and 27, 2019 respectively.  However, the evidence the OSP developed makes it clear that there are fundamental facts that are inconsistent with the CCSAO, Mr. Magats, and State’s Attorney Foxx’s messaging in at least two ways:
      • The Initial Smollett Case did not fit the criteria the CCSAO’s Chief Data Officer used to identify the cited 5,700 figure because all of those cases were referred to a diversion program, unlike Mr. Smollett’s case; therefore, the resolution of the Initial Smollett Case was meaningfully different from how those 5,700 cases were resolved.
      • There were not thousands of (or, arguably any) similar cases that the CCSAO resolved in a similar way to the Initial Smollett Case.  The CCSAO could not identify any specific similar CCSAO cases it relied upon when resolving the Initial Smollett Case. 
    • The CCSAO and State’s Attorney Foxx made false public statements representing that $10,000 was the most Mr. Smollett could have been ordered to pay in restitution under the law when there is no such cap under the provision of the disorderly conduct statute under which Mr. Smollett was charged, 720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)(4).
    • The CCSAO and State’s Attorney Foxx made false public statements representing that Mr. Smollett had no criminal background, though the CCSAO specifically stated at Mr. Smollett’s bond hearing that Mr. Smollett has a prior misdemeanor conviction out of California from September 22, 2007 for DUI, driving without a license, and giving false information to the police, for which he was placed on 24 months of probation. 
    • After telling reporters on March 27, 2019 that the CCSAO had a strong case and would have prevailed at trial, State’s Attorney Foxx published an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune on March 29, 2019 where she falsely represented that the “office believed the likelihood of securing a conviction was not certain.”
  • Third Finding of Abuse of Discretion: The CCSAO engaged in a substantial abuse of discretion and breached its obligations of honesty and transparency by making false and/or misleading statements to the public regarding State’s Attorney Foxx’s recusal.

Yet, much like the Horowitz report, everyone gets a slap on the wrist for misconduct which ‘didn’t rise to the level of criminal charges’ – except Smollett, who was sued on April 12, 2019 by the city of Chicago for $130,105.15 in overtime that the Chicago PD says they spent chasing down Smollett’s lie. The actor has filed a counter-suit against the city, claiming that he was the victim of “mass public ridicule and harm.”

Then, in February of this year Smollett was re-indicted on six counts related to making false police reports.

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