State

Prosecutor asks for review of how Smollett case was handled

Actor Jussie Smollett smiles and waves to supporters before leaving Cook County Court after his charges were dropped March 26 in Chicago.
Actor Jussie Smollett smiles and waves to supporters before leaving Cook County Court after his charges were dropped March 26 in Chicago.

CHICAGO – The Cook County state's attorney said Friday that she has asked the county's inspector general to review how her office handled "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett's criminal case.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and others have criticized the decision by Kim Foxx's office to drop charges against Smollett accusing him of filing a false report to police that he was the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in January.

"Ensuring that I and my office have the community's trust and confidence is paramount to me, which is why I invited an independent review of this matter," Foxx said in a statement. "I welcome this investigation and pledge my full cooperation and the cooperation of my office."

A grand jury indicted the actor on 16 counts in early March. Foxx's office dropped the charges about three weeks later, giving no detailed explanation for why the case was abandoned. Smollett has maintained his innocence and insisted he was attacked.

The Chicago Tribune first reported Foxx's request Friday and reported Cook County Independent Inspector General Patrick Blanchard set a letter to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and other county leaders informing them of Foxx's request.

Blanchard wrote that Foxx asked for a review "of the circumstances surrounding the resolution of criminal charges formerly pending against Jussie Smollett." He wrote that his office would proceed with the review.

The city of Chicago filed a civil lawsuit Thursday in Cook County court against Smollett, who is black and gay, in a bid to recoup the costs of investigating his claim that masked men beat him Jan. 29 in Chicago, shouted slurs and wrapped a rope around his neck.

The suit comes after Smollett refused the city's demand that he repay it $130,106. A spokeswoman for Smollett's legal team said they had no comment on the lawsuit or Foxx's request for the inspector general review.

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