State's Attorney Kim Foxx, Challenger Bill Conway Exchange Barbs Over Burke, Smollett

The candidates also tangled over how their respective attorneys were paid during high-profile litigation

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In his race to unseat incumbent Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, Democratic candidate Bill Conway is looking his opponent not just to the Jussie Smollett case, but also to embattled Chicago Alderman Ed Burke.

In doing so, Conway says his goal is simple: to “get politics out of an office it never belonged.”   

Conway criticized Foxx for her handling of the Smollett case, saying the actor “got a special deal.”

Conway also blasted Foxx for her connections to Burke, saying that she asked the alderman to host a fundraiser for her and that shortly after the conversation Foxx “signed off on a $2 million property tax rebate for him and his clients.”     

Conway says he will not take contributions from property tax attorneys like Burke.   

In response, Foxx’s campaign criticized Conway as a hypocrite, saying that her opponent had taken money from his father, a co-founder of the Carlyle Group, and that the funds came from his father’s “arms dealing empire.”

The Foxx campaign released a statement about the Burke allegations:

 “The fact is we have donated the money from Ed Burke to non-profit organizations.  Mr. Conway is getting his facts wrong while he’s grasping at straws in this race. Not only that, but this is a weak and hypocritical attack from a candidate who has taken at least $1.7 million from his billionaire father’s arms dealing empire that to this day is contributing to the violence we’re seeing around the world.”

Conway defended himself from the allegations, saying that he is using his family’s resources to help better the lives of Cook County residents.

“My family has resources; I haven’t been shy about that,” he said. “I am using my voice and my resources so the residents of Cook County know that when elected there is going to be a public corruption reckoning in Cook County, that I can promise you.”  

Conway also notes that in recent days it was revealed that the State’s Attorney’s office has hired a high powered former federal judge Ruben Castillo to help navigate special prosecutor Dan Webb’s investigation in the Smollett case.  

Conway criticized the move, saying that the hire will be paid with taxpayer money.  

Conway says the state’s attorney’s office said “attorneys are often hired in complex litigation.  I don’t see this as complex litigation.” 

Foxx’s campaign once again said that the Conway campaign was being hypocritical with its accusations, pointing to a case in which Conway, as a former assistant state’s attorney, was a third-party defendant in a malicious prosecution case involving fraudulent evidence, and that taxpayers paid for the defense.

 “I was brought in as a third party on a case recently, I was deposed in that case; I was represented by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office,” Conway responded.  “Shortly thereafter the office did get somebody to go to court to get that case dismissed, the case was very quickly thereafter dismissed. I never even met the lawyer who supposedly represented me.  The taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for that and I have asked that lawyer to send me the bill.” 

The Foxx campaign says her personal lawyer in the Smollett investigation is not paid for by the taxpayers or the campaign.  

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