chicago politics

NBC 5 Exclusive: Judge Who Handled Smollett Case Doesn't Receive Backing of Cook County Dems' Executive Committee

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Judge Michael Toomin, who was assigned to hear the Jussie Smollett case is now facing political fallout, as NBC 5 has learned Toomin did not receive the political backing of the Executive Committee of the Cook County Democratic Party.

The committee met last week to consider party slating, weighing the retention of nearly 60 judges. Only Toomin and one other judge, Mauricio Araujo, did not receive the committee’s recommendation.   

Now the decision will be up to a full vote by Democratic committeemen who plan to meet Monday to decide if Toomin loses the party’s endorsement.    

Last July, Toomin appointed Dan Webb as a special prosecutor to investigate the handling of the Smollett case after all of Smollet’s charges were dropped. In a scathing ruling, Toomin noted “unprecedented irregularities” and referred to Smollett as a “charlatan who fomented a hoax.”  

Toomin also suggested Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx mishandled the case.    

After a lengthy investigation, last month Webb found no criminal wrongdoing by Foxx, while at the same noting there were substantial abuses of discretion. Now that the special prosecutor’s investigation is complete, Toomin has denied a motion to release the 60-page investigative report to the public, noting it contained grand jury material and by law that would prevent him from doing so.   

The Smollett case has been a key issue in Foxx’s re-election campaign, from the Democratic primary back in March to the upcoming November election.    

Foxx’s political mentor and key supporter is Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Preckwinkle is also the Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party. 

Toomin has received highly qualified ratings in previous elections. Currently, Toomin is Cook County's top juvenile court judge. We’ve reached out to Judge Toomin who has not yet responded to our requests for comment.

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