Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx Writes Op-Ed On ‘Empire' Actor Jussie Smollett Charges Being Dropped, Says She Welcomes Independent Investigation

Foxx says Smollett's reporting of a false hate crime makes her angry, but she believes the decision to drop charges is the right one.

What to Know

  • All criminal charges against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett were dropped Tuesday, his legal team said
  • Prosecutors said despite dropping the charges that they "did not exonerate" Smollett. Still, the actor has maintained his innocence.
  • Smollett completed community service and forfeited his $10,000 bond to the city, prosecutors said

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx announced Friday she welcomes an outside review into how her office handled the controversial Jussie Smollett case.

In an op-ed piece for the Chicago Tribune, Foxx said the case against the "Empire" actor was not as strong as many people believed. She notes Smollet was not found innocent or exonerated. The charges were dropped, she writes, because there was concern she could not secure a conviction.

Foxx says Smollett's reporting of a false hate crime makes her angry, but she believes the decision to drop charges is the right one.

"Falsely reporting any crime is itself a crime; falsely reporting a hate crime is so much worse, and I condemn in the strongest possible way anyone who does that," Foxx wrote in the newspaper. "Falsely reporting a hate crime causes immeasurable harm to the victims of actual crimes, whether because they are less likely to be believed or, worse, because they are afraid to report their crimes in the first place for fear of not being believed."

A city official says Chicago is seeking $130,000 from Smollett to cover the costs of the investigation into his reported beating, which police say was staged. 

Bill McCaffrey, a spokesman for the city government's legal department, confirmed the amount Thursday, hours after Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city would try to recoup the money it spent on the investigation. 

"The city feels this is a reasonable and legally just amount to help offset the cost of the investigation," he told NBC 5. 

Cook County prosecutors on Tuesday dropped all of the charges against Smollett, who was accused of lying to police about being the victim of a homophobic and racist attack in downtown Chicago on Jan. 29. 

Emanuel and the police department blasted the decision to drop the charges, saying they stand by their belief that Smollett hired two friends to help him stage the attack because he was unhappy about his salary and wanted publicity. 

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city plans to send a bill to Smollett for the cost of the investigation. 

"The police are assembling the cost [of the investigation]," Emanuel told reporters earlier Thursday. "They'll do that and then the corporation counsel of the city of Chicago will communicate to Jussie Smollett and his legal team about recouping that cost in that effort. And, given that he doesn't feel any sense of contrition and remorse, my recommendation is when he writes the check, in the memo section he can put the word, 'I'm accountable' for the hoax."

"The finance is a piece of it and an acknowledgement that what he did at every level was wrong," he added.

A representative for Smollett's legal team said "it is the mayor and the police chief who owe Jussie - owe him an apology - for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud. Jussie has paid enough." 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice will review the case, President Donald Trump claimed in a tweet Thursday. Both the FBI and the Department of Justice declined to comment on the case Thursday morning, according to NBC News. 

Smollett's attorney said Thursday the actor simply wants to "move on," claiming the aftermath of the alleged beating was "much harsher" than the attack itself.

"What that attack was pales in comparison to the attack on him by the mayor, by the CPD, by the press, by the public," one of Smollett's lawyers, Tina Glandian said in an appearance on TODAY.

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