Kim Foxx Says She ‘Fell Short’ in Jussie Smollett Case

Foxx announced her campaign for re-election this week

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Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx acknowledged that she "fell short" in her handling of the case against former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, who was accused of staging a racist and homophobic attack on himself before the charges against him were suddenly dropped. 

But not in the way some might think. 

"In this case, we treated this case like we treated many other cases, but the fact of the matter is we didn't communicate well to the public how and why we do what we do," she told NBC 5. "And that's on me. It's my obligation as a public servant to be able to show people how we do our work and we fell short of that. I fell short." 

Foxx announced her campaign for re-election this week with a video. 

"State's attorney is a tough job. Every day, my office is under attack: from a president who uses our city as a punching bag, the NRA hell bent on letting guns flood our streets, and the FOP clinging to the old ways," Foxx said in the video, pointing to the National Rifle Association and the Fraternal Order of Police. "They’ll do anything to undercut progress, including attacking me personally over the Jussie Smollett case."

Accused of staging a racist and anti-gay attack on himself in Chicago in January, Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct in March. All charges against him were dropped later that month - a move critics claimed was special treatment by Foxx's office.

"The work that we do in our office, to be summed up in one case or two has been hard to watch," she said. "Days after the Smollett case there was a woman who was lured into an apartment and her belly ripped open and her baby taken from her while she was trying to get baby clothes. Those are the cases our office handles every single day." 

Foxx's re-election announcement marked the first time she has admitted fault in the Smollett proceedings, months after an Illinois judge appointed a special prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation into Smollett as well as any office or agency involved in the case. At the time of the appointment in August, Foxx's office said in a statement that it pledged its "full cooperation" to Webb.

Foxx was first elected in 2016, when she defeated embattled incumbent Anita Alvarez, who was under fire for her handling of the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald in 2014. She had previously served as an assistant Cook County state’s attorney for 12 years, then as chief of staff for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle after that.

She also has the backing of the Chicago's mayor. 

"I think she deserves another term to finish the work," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. 

Foxx will face at least two challengers in the Democratic primary election: Bill Conway and Donna More.

Conway is a former Cook County assistant state's attorney and reserve U.S. Naval intelligence officer who is the son of William E. Conway Jr., co-founder of one of the largest private equity firms in the world. Bill Conway's father has a net worth of about $3.1 billion, according to Forbes, which will likely give him a major cash advantage in the race.

More is a former assistant U.S. attorney and assistant Cook County state’s attorney who ran against Foxx and then-State's Attorney Alvarez in the Democratic primary in 2016, finishing in third.

The period during which candidates can file petition signatures to get on the March primary ballot begins Monday.

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