Judge Orders Appointment of Special Prosecutor in Jussie Smollett Case, Additional Prosecution Back on the Table
Daniel Goldblatt, Blast, June 21, 2019
A Cook County judge on Friday ordered the appointment of a special prosecutor in the Jussie Smollett case, which could lead to new charges against the “Empire” star.
Chicago Tribune reporter Megan Crepeau was in this morning’s hearing, where Judge Michael Toomin ruled that when State’s Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself from the case, she did not have the authority to appoint her replacement.
Crepeau reported that the special prosecutor may further prosecute Smollett and quoted the judge as saying if they have “reasonable grounds to believe that any other criminal offense was committed … special prosecutor may commence the prosecution of any crime as may be suspected.”
The judge’s ruling stated that the special prosecutor was to be appointed so as to “restore the public’s confidence in the integrity of our criminal justice system.”
At the time, Foxx said she recused herself after she had conversations with a relative of Smollett’s before he was charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly faking the attack against himself.
First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats took over the case and prosecutors ended up dropping all charges against Smollett after the “Empire” star. He performed 16 hours of community service and agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bail but did not admit any guilt in the alleged incident.
It was later revealed that two weeks before the charges were dropped, Foxx texted her staff and called Smollett a “washed-up celeb who lied to cops.” She also told them he was being charged too harshly.
Critics have said that if Foxx truly recused herself of the case, it would have been handed over to a state’s attorney from a different county.
“Empire” co-creator Lee Daniels put the nail in the coffin of Jussie Smollett’s run on the show after Variety posted a story saying the writer’s room of the show was preparing for the embattled star’s return for the second half of the final season.