Kim Foxx and Jussie Smollett are both still lying about what happened in Chicago. Smollett got off because of celebrity and the access that gave him to the top rungs of the Democrat Party. The reality of that has sunk in, forcing anyone who defends Smollett to seem ignorant or foolish. Foxx, however, is benefitting from the confusion she sowed over her role in the case and her continued misstatements. To be clear, she is now lying, and has from the beginning lied, about what she and her office did to pervert justice in service of helping Smollett beat the wrap.
The heart is warmed by comedian Chris Rock’s performance at the NAACP Image Awards the other evening. The host of that program, Anthony Anderson, told Variety several days before the show:
“I hope (Smollett) wins. I’m happy for him. That the system worked for him — in his favor — because the system isn’t always fair, especially for people of color.”
Would that Smollett see some fairness! Anderson went on to say that no one, including himself, should judge another person, and that he hoped Smollett would be there for the show. Perhaps Anderson had been too busy preparing for his hosting duties to see the writing on the wall, that Smollett hoaxed all of us, not just the police. It is appropriate for us to judge Smollett; he asked for it when he enlisted us in his crime.
Keep in mind that Smollett himself knows the country is neither racist nor homophobic. Though he rails about it all the time, he chose those attributes as the imagined basis for the hoax attack, because he knows that those charges are precisely what will bring the largest outpouring of support, sympathy, and victim worship. Instead of evidence of a society calloused to race or sex preference attacks, his choice shows we are hypersensitized to them.
Smollett thought we would buy the lie that Foxx’s dirty deal meant he was innocent. He did not get famous because of his IQ, to be sure. This, after all, is a man who paid for the commission of a felony with a personal check. In any case, what to do with him? Rock showed us the best way Hollywood and the rest of the public should deal with Smollett, with a proper mocking. After making fun of Jussie wasting his features of light skin and curly hair, Rock says he will now start calling him “Jesse,” that he lost the “u” when he lost his respect:
Notice the reaction of the elite of blacks in entertainment in the room. They were hoaxed, too, and it is refreshing to see Smollett’s attempt to maintain anything approaching innocence is being rejected there. Cook County State’s Attorney needs to be given the same treatment. She lied about recusing herself from the case and seems incapable of coming clean with the people of Cook County about what she did.
On Feb. 20, Foxx’s office announced her recusal in the case and stated:
“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.”
Later on, we learned that Foxx tried to get the FBI to take over the case. Smollett’s lies were being unraveled, and the truth was starting to emerge. That’s when Michelle Obama’s former chief of staff got involved. Tina Tchen texted Foxx at the behest of a yet-unnamed Smollett family member “who had concerns about how the investigation was being characterized in public.” So the basis for the recusal itself was false: There is and was no “familiarity” with a “potential witness.”
At that time it seemed like the lie was relatively garden variety, to cover up an act of political cowardice – not wanting to be seen as the prosecutor of a very politically popular black progressive celebrity. It is much worse than that, however. After the charges were dropped we learned the truth: She never recused herself in the first place.
Recusal has a legal meaning. In Illinois, it means that the prosecutor’s office will no longer handle the case. The purpose of the recusal is, as you might imagine, to ensure that decisions to prosecute be made without personal interest or bias. According to the Chicago Tribune, Foxx’s office said her recusal did not mean what everybody thought, “it was a colloquial use of the term rather than in its legal sense.”
Foxx was elected to lead the second largest prosecutor’s office in the country in 2016. Kamala Harris – yes, the senator from California who wants to be president, who is friends with Smollett, served as co-chair of Foxx’s “transition team.” That transition team said, in the fancy brochure it produced, to be effective in achieving its mission of promoting safety and pursuing justice, “it must be trusted and viewed as legitimate by the communities it serves.”
Instead of ending the week with an apology or a resignation, Foxx ended it by doubling down on the falsehoods presented to save her skin. In an essay run by the Trib entitled “I welcome an outside review of how we handled the Jussie Smollett case,” Foxx says:
“In the interest of full transparency, I would prefer these records be made public. However, in this case, Illinois law allows defendants in certain circumstances to request that public records remain sealed. Smollett chose to pursue that avenue, and so my office is barred from releasing those records without his approval.”
That is false. Take it not from me but from the Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association, which said Foxx “falsely informed the public that the uncontested sealing of the criminal court case was ‘mandatory’ under Illinois law.” And “to the extent the case was even eligible for an immediate seal, that action was discretionary, not mandatory, and only upon the proper filing of a petition to seal.” Foxx tries to give the impression that her hands were tied, while the truth is the opposite.
Foxx and her deputies conspired with Smollett’s attorneys to keep any and all details of the case from the public. They scheduled the hearing secretly to avoid any public witnesses to the scam, and then they didn’t object to a request by Smollett to seal the case. The Prosecutors Bar again:
“The appearance of impropriety here is compounded by the fact that this case was not on the regularly scheduled court call, the public had no reasonable notice or opportunity to view these proceedings, and the dismissal was done abruptly at what has been called an ‘emergency’ hearing. To date, the nature of the purported emergency has not been publicly disclosed.”
It was a political emergency for Foxx, to be sure, but that’s not the kind the law envisions. She spread more lies when she pretended this type of prosecution-defense arrangement happens regularly. Her fellow prosecutors were having none of it. “This action was highly unusual, not a statutory diversion program, and not in accordance with well-accepted practices of State’s Attorney-initiated diversionary programs.” What made it different was that Smollett stood in the courthouse and proclaimed himself innocent. “Central to any diversion program, however, is that the defendant must accept responsibility.”
Smollett used the fake attack to wage a real one against any Republican and any American who voted for Trump or thinks his presidency is something other than a hate crime. He enlisted us all to be outraged for him, to support him as the hero survivor of a racist, homophobic attack, one which all good people must decry. So we were. That is why outrage at the hoax is appropriate: against both Smollett, the perpetrator, and Foxx, the prosecutor who used her office to abet and conceal a crime.