Prosecutor Open to Outside Investigation Into Jussie Smollett
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx says she is open to an outside investigation into the decision to dismiss all 16 charges against Empire’s Jussie Smollett, who was accused of staging an alleged hate crime against himself January 29th.
"I am not perfect, nor is any other prosecutor out there, but ensuring that I and my office have our community’s trust is paramount," Foxx wrote in an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune.
The Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson were outspoken in their criticism of the investigation, and President Donald Trump called for an FBI and Department of Justice probe into the move to dismiss the allegations.
"In determining whether or not to pursue charges, prosecutors are required to balance the severity of the crime against the likelihood of securing a conviction," Foxx wrote. "For a variety of reasons ... my office believed the likelihood of securing a conviction was not certain."
Foxx writes that the decision to drop the charges was not motivated by her conviction of his innocence, but her belief that jail should be reserved for those who commit violent crimes. Foxx said Smollett’s "alleged unstable actions have probably caused him more harm than any court-ordered penance could."
Police are sticking to their claims that Smollett staged the attack to promote his career, and have ordered him to pay $130,000 to cover the cost of the investigtation.
The embattled star, who has consistently maintained his innocence throughout this process, lost the NAACP Image Award he was up for as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Friday Night. Instead, Jesse Williams took home the trophy for his role in Grey’s Anatomy. Smollett did not attend the ceremony. Host Anthony Anderson told Variety he was rooting for Smollett’s victory and "hoped to see him" at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, where the rest of the awards will be handed out.
Chris Rock, who was on hand to present the award for Outstanding Comedy Series, took the opportunity to blast Smollett, saying: "They said 'No Jussie Smollett jokes' ... What a waste of light skin. Do you know what I could do with that light skin? That curly hair? My career would be out of here! I'd be running Hollywood."
He continued: "What the hell was he thinking? You're 'Jessie' from now on. You don't get the 'u' no more. That 'u' was respect. You ain't getting no respect from me!"