The special prosecutor tasked with probing the state attorney’s handling of the Jussie Smollett investigation in Chicago has ruled the office abused its discretion in the case against the actor, but did nothing criminal.
In a statement on the conclusions of his investigation, special prosecutor Dan Webb sharply criticized the handling of the Smollett case by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and her assistant prosecutors, saying their handling was marked by disarray and misleading statements, FOX News reported.
In March last year, Foxx’s office surprised and angered many in Chicago by dropping charges that accused the former “Empire” actor of staging an alleged racist and homophobic attack against himself. Smollett remains adamant the attack was real and wasn’t a publicity hoax.
Webb’s findings announced Monday came after charges were restored against Smollett by the same special prosecutor in February. Webb said at the time that dropping the charges against Smollett was unjustified since the evidence against the actor seemed overwhelming and because he was not required to admit the attack was a hoax, according to Cision PR Newswire.
In further outlining what the special prosecutor identified as Foxx’s office’s first finding of abuse of discretion, Webb adds that Smollett was neither required to plead guilty to any crimes nor admit any wrongdoing. In fact, as Webb’s report states, “following the court proceedings on March 26, 2019, Mr. Smollett publicly stated he was completely innocent.”
“The only punishment for Mr. Smollett was to perform 15 hours of community service that had no relationship to the charged conduct,” the report further states. The office also “only” required “Mr. Smollett to forfeit his $10,000 bond as restitution to the City of Chicago (a figure amounting to less than 10% of the $130,106.15 in police overtime pay that the City alleges it paid solely due to Mr. Smollett’s false statements to police.”
When speaking to the press about the decision to dismiss, Foxx and other state’s attorney employees made misleading or outright false statements, including regarding the amount which Smollett was required to pay, according to the report.
The office, and Foxx herself, “made false public statements representing that $10,000 was the most Mr. Smollett could have been ordered to pay in restitution under the law when there is no such cap under the provision of the disorderly conduct statute under which Mr. Smollett was charged.”
They also falsely claimed that Smollett had no criminal record, despite his previously disclosed DUI conviction, for which he was ordered to serve 24 months of probation.