Jussie Smollett charges dropped
Our live coverage of today's developments in the Jussie Smollett case have ended, but you can read the following stories for more.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, in her interview with CNN Chicago affiliate WLS, expressed confidence her office could have proved Jussie Smollett guilty.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx tells CNN Chicago affiliate WLS that a relative of actor Jussie Smollett did reach out to her and expressed concerns about the investigation.
The caller asked if there was a way she could make sure the leaks were at a minimum in the case. Foxx says the family reached out to her because they didn’t have connections in the police department, and indicates this was before Smollett was named as a suspect in the case. The relatives had asked Foxx if there was any way the FBI could take over the investigation.
Foxx says she shared the fact that she spoke with the family member with Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson about their request for the FBI to take it over. Foxx said the case was not being treated differently and notes that people reach out to her all the time.
The court files in Actor Jussie Smollett’s case were not supposed to be sealed, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx told CNN’s Affiliate WLS in an on-camera interview Wednesday.
She says her office did not advocate, do not believe the court files would be sealed. Foxx tells WLS she believes the court files are in the process of being unsealed.
State's Attorney Kim Foxx — who recused herself from the Jussie Smollett case in February after exchange text messages with Smollett family friends — said there are a lot of emotions surrounding the case, but insisted that her office has "to be driven by facts."
"There's some people who were never gonna be satisfied unless Mr. Smollett spent many nights in prison, and then there were others who believed that the charging of 16 counts of disorderly conduct was excessive," she told CNN affiliate WBEZ.
"Right now, there's a lot of emotion. And I wholeheartedly believe that in our work we cannot be driven by emotions. We have to be driven by facts," she added.
Some background: Foxx recused herself from the Smollett case after text messages showed Smollett family friend Tina Tchen reached out to Foxx on February 1. Tchen wrote the family had "concerns about the investigation."
Foxx emailed Tchen saying in part, "Spoke to Superintendent Johnson. I convinced him to (r)each out to FBI to ask that they take over the investigation. He is reaching out now and will get back to me shortly."
Later another person, identified by Foxx's office as a family friend, asked the prosecutor whether they could talk on the phone. She says Tchen gave her Foxx's number.
Hours later, Foxx texts the unidentified family friend that she "spoke to the (police) superintendent earlier, he made the ask. Trying to figure out the logistics."
The person responds: "Omg this would be a huge victory."
The reporting officer in one of the police reports said that Jussie Smollett was never handcuffed, placed in a cell, or "subjected to the media" while in an officer's presence.
A major twist in the Jussie Smollett case came when police alleged that the actor hired two brothers and paid them $3,500 to stage the attack.
Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo were arrested last month after police tracked the cabs and rideshare cars they used before the attack. The men eventually confessed to the alleged plot and appeared before a grand jury but they were released without charges.
According to the just-released police reports, one of the Osundairo brothers told police after testifying to the grand jury that it felt good to tell the truth — but still felt that police may want to charge him.
One of the Osundairo brothers told the police he put bleach into an El Yucateco hot sauce bottle and poured it on Smollett, according to the reports.
Two Chicago Police supplemental reports on the Jussie Smollett case have been released as a result of FOIA requests from the media.
Some context: These reports are all supplemental police documentation that classifies Smollett as an "offender," according to Chicago Police Sgt. Peter Edwards. The police documents that classify Smollett as a "victim" — which was prior to when charges were filed — have not been made public.
Today's announcement that charges against actor Jussie Smollett were dropped comes more than a month after the county's top prosecutor recused herself from the investigation.
Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself "out of an abundance of caution," according to a spokeswoman from her office.
"Out of an abundance of caution, the decision to recuse herself was made to address potential questions of impartiality based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case," spokesperson Tandra Simonton said at the time.
The Cook County State's Attorney's Office didn't immediately explain why the 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct were dropped against Smollett today, except to say it came after reviewing the case's facts, and in view of Smollett's agreement to forfeit his $10,000 bond. Parts of the case will be sealed, one of Smollett's attorneys said.