2 Top Foxx Aides Resign From Cook County State's Attorney's Office - NBC Chicago

2 Top Foxx Aides Resign From Cook County State's Attorney's Office

An analysis and inquiry is actively being conducted by the Cook County Inspector General’s Office.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Smollett Case Decisions Made 'Outside of My Authority': Foxx

    Who knew what and when? New information suggests a lack of transparency in how prosecutors handled the case against Jussie Smollett. The state attorney’s office made records public that shed new light on what was going on behind closed doors. NBC 5's Ash-har Quraishi reports.

    (Published Wednesday, April 17, 2019)

    Two of Kim Foxx's top aides at the Cook County State's Attorney's office are leaving.

    The chief ethics officer, April Perry, and the chief of the Conviction Integrity Unit, Mark Rotert, have submitted letters of resignation. The departures are the latest fallout after the controversial handling of the Jussie Smollett case--though a spokeswoman told the Chicago Tribune Perry's departure was not in relation to the Smollett case.

    The Cook County Inspector General is investigating the decisions that led prosecutors to drop all charges against the "Empire" star.

    The state’s attorney’s office made public records that shed new light on what was going on behind closed doors. The 1,300 documents released--which include internal text messages from the state’s attorneys office and email exchanges with news media--may raise more questions for Foxx. Specifically, at issue how removed she actually was from the decision to drop charges against Smollett.

    “No, I didn’t make the decision that ultimately was made regarding the disposition of this case,” she said Wednesday. One day after all 16 counts of disorderly conduct were dropped against Smollett, in an interview with NBC 5, Foxx said she was not behind it.

    "Those were decisions that were made outside of my authority," she said.

    After her recusal, she said, the case was handled by First Assistant State’s Attorney Joe Magats.

    “There has been no outside, undue, inappropriate influence on this case whatsoever,” Magats said.

    But in a text message to Magats on March 8--17 days after recusing herself and two days after the 16-count indictment was returned--Foxx wrote “soooo.... I’m recused, but when people accuse us of over charging cases... 16 counts on a class4 becomes exhibit a.”

    Magats responds with “yes. I can see where that can be excessive.”

    Foxx says “just because we can charge something doesn’t mean we should.”

    Magats responds “agreed.”

    Two and a half weeks later, all charges against Smollett were dropped.

    Richard Kling is with Kent School of Law.

    “From reading everything, I don’t think there was an intent to deceive the public," he said. "I think the public was deceived but I don’t think it was an intentional deception. I think just so much craziness was going on that there were mixed messages."

    Foxx revised her position in a statement Tuesday night.

    “After the indictment became public, I reached out to Joe to discuss reviewing office policies to assure consistencies in our charging and our use of appropriate charging authority,” she said.

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel weighed in Wednesday.

    "I don't think she should resign, we need a thorough analysis of what happened, it doesn't add up and people wanted to know and deserve to know what happened here," he said.

    An analysis and inquiry is actively being conducted by the Cook County Inspector General’s Office. They are the agency reviewing the state’s attorney’s office’s handling of the Smollett case – and tell NBC 5 Wednesday that their report could be completed by the end of the summer.

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