After being approached by a politically-networked lawyer, US Attorney Kimberly Foxx asked Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson to abandon the investigation into Jussie Smollett's attack on the FBI, the Tribune said.
Foxx reaches out to Johnson after Tina Tchen, former First Lady chief of staff Michelle Obama, wrote to Foxx that the actor's family did not call "concern about the investigation". Tchen, a close friend of Mrs. Mayrahm, Rahm Emanuel's wife, said she acted on behalf of the "Empire" actor and his family. A relative later exchanged texts with Foxx.
The exchange began on February 1
"Talking to Superintendent Johnson," Foxx wrote back to Tchen February 1: "I convinced him to contact the FBI to investigate."
The same day, Foxx wrote a text message with Smollett's relatives whose name was blacked out in the copies left by their office.  "He used to talk to the superintendent, he asked," wrote Foxx. "I try to find out the logistics. I keep you informed. "
" That would be a great victory, "the relative replied.
"I give no guarantees, but I'll try," Foxx wrote back.
Kiera Ellis, a spokeswoman for the State Procuratorate, said Smollett's family was particularly worried about leaks in the media, which allegedly came from the police department.
"When she first dealt with the communications, it was believed that Smollett was still the victim of the crime," Ellis said. When the investigation began to change and it became possible for him to actually be a suspect, the decision was made (to reject himself).
It is not uncommon for people to contact Foxx with information or concerns Ellis said it was "fairly typical" for her to contact Johnson directly for updates or information.  Tchen could not be reached.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi was unable to verify that Johnson and Foxx were discussing handing the case over to federal officials and refusing to question the superintendent.
But Guglielmi noted that the FBI had been working with Chicago police from the outset because it was reported as a hate crime, and a week earlier, a letter addressed to Smollett at the Empire studio had raised racist and homophobic threats against the actor Demanding – a federal offense.
Whether Foxx's communication with Johnson was right depends on her motivation to make the request Robert Loeb, an experienced R Prosecutor, who also teaches at DePaul University College of Law.
"If she favors someone with some influence, it would be unprofessional and she should be criticized," he said. "If she tried to clean up a mess that had even endangered her own office, and a clean investigation by the FBI was in the interests of truth, then what she did is commendable."
The shared texts between Foxx and the Relative Stop on February 13, the day Foxx's senior ethics officer, April Perry, sent out a memo informing associates that Foxx was out of Smollett's investigation "Thrown back". It did not say why. The state's first deputy prosecutor, Joe Magats, the agency's second-highest official, was commissioned to investigate.
Their refusal was publicly announced on February 19, the day before lawsuits were filed against Smollett. The Whole Story.
Foxx & # 39; s Office said she had "withdrawn" from a plethora of caution "because she had conversations with a relative of Smollett after reporting the incident, and then acted as an intermediary with the Chicago police would have. 19659002] The Foxx office did not respond to the conversation with the relative and triggered off Anita Alvarez, the former prosecutor, who was easily defeated by Foxx in 2016.
"Perhaps I should have just retired from the difficult cases that surfaced. My desk when I was a prosecutor," she wrote on Facebook. "I had the impression that when the electorate voted for me and took my oath of office, I meant that I had to do my job."
Jgorner @ chicagotribune.com
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