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Prosecutor postpones Smollett's refusal grounds, releases files

CHICAGO (AP) – Chicago's top prosecutor has again explained why she has withdrawn from an investigation into Jussie Smollett's claim that he was the target of a hate crime, claiming she had resigned because of false rumors related to " Empire "actor.

Cook County State attorney Kim Foxx issued the new public statement in a statement issued along with the publication of 2,000 pages of documents in the case. Smollett, black and gay, staged the attack themselves.

Their testimony and the documents that contained internal office communications illustrate how Foxx and her office sometimes tormented themselves about whether they should reuse themselves at all and how they should do it, declaring the decision in March, to drop all charges that accused Smollett of lying about the attack and of making a false police report. Smollett claimed he had been the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in downtown Chicago in January.

Foxx said in her Friday statement, "There were false rumors circulating that I was related or somehow connected to the Smollett family, and I strayed from all points of investigation and persecution … to avoid even the perception of conflict."

Previous statements indicated, however, that she withdrew in February for communicating with a family member of Smollett as investigator of the reported conflicts. The attack continued.

Foxx spoke in early February with former Chief of Staff Tina Tchen, who represented Smollett's family, and with a member of Smollett's family about the investigation. She resigned on February 13, and her office cited communication with Smollett's relatives, whom Tchen Foxx had encouraged to call, as the reason for the decision.

The new documents showed that she was torn apart, whether she should retire all.

In texts with her Chief of Staff Jennifer Ballard Croft, Foxx said she was unhappy about having to resign from the investigation – and called the wrong ones Rumors even "racist".

An ethics officer, she said. "told me I had to do it." She continued, "There were rumors she said I was related or closely related to the Smollett, I told her it was not true, she said it was omnipresent (in the Chicago Police Department), and I should I thought it was stupid, but okay, it's really just racist. "

Previously published communications also show how Foxx got involved in the case, even though she had publicly pledged to stay out of decision making.

Portions of Friday's publications, not directly attributed to Foxx, but to her office, say the new materials being published, "reveal that the prosecution was instructed to" recycle "themselves … based solely on rumors that they were using Smollett was related – which she is not. "

It also points to misunderstandings. Lawyers in the firm advised against using the word "rejection" for what Foxx did – because they saw no real conflict of interest.

These communications were not forwarded to the state attorney himself, "she said.

Smollett was confronted with 16 crimes resulting from the creation of a false message that he had been attacked by two men on January 29 Investigators said he had made the wrong report because he was dissatisfied with his pay. " "Empire" and believed that such an incident would boost his career. The Foxx office dropped the lawsuit on March 26, without Smollett's confession, triggering criticism, including then mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago police chief Eddie Johnson.

The Foxx office published hundreds of police reports, arrest warrants, internal emails, and texts that the media organization had requested for months, closing its offices on Friday night's weekend. A judge had approved the release of the files last week.

Among the documents were letters to Foxx from followers of Smollett in February, in which she was asked in her office to review the indictment.

A letter came from New York lawyer Brian Ponder, who wrote "#NotJustJussie" in the subject line.

In his letter of February 21, 2019, he wrote that he understands the gravity of a hoax, but added, "We do not just prosecute such allegations of social, political, or racial prejudice." He said, "We trust that that your office is checking, investigating and indicting all the false reporters and not just Jussie. "America is watching."

The problem of rejection continues to haunt the prosecution. [19659021] At the end of March, Foxx and her aides attempted to rewrite their role after raising questions about the cancellation of charges. One statement stated that Foxx had used the term "reuse" in the "colloquial use of the term." They said that the correct description was that they had "informally disconnected from the decision making" in the case.

However, as the previously published documents showed, Foxx was still concerned about critical issues when its employees decided to proceed with the prosecution, starting when Smollett was sued on February 20. Her contributions included a text from March 8 to prosecutor Joseph Magats, who became the final decision maker in the Smollett case after Foxx allegedly resigned.

Foxx wrote, "Sooo … I'm being rejected, but when people accuse us of overloading cases … 16 counts in a class 4 become Exhibit A. "

Magats answered his boss and said," Yes. I can see where that can be considered exaggerated. "

Foxx called the Smollett case" unique "and scary in their direct Friday statement," she said. And she added, "I had no conflict of interest in this case, just a sincere desire to serve the community."

However, she acknowledged that the matter was not handled as well as it could have been, especially with regard to the issue of rejection.

"I regret that my attempts to do this outside the office are confusing," she said. She added later, "I am sorry that despite the best intentions, we have made less effort than was currently required," she said.

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