By: Mark Glennon*

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx

Contrary to countless press reports to the contrary, Cook County States Attorney Kim Foxx now reportedly did not formally recuse herself from the Jussie Smollett case. It appears clear she should have. Had she done so, Illinois law would have required appointment of a special prosecutor or independent person to replace her and her office. That didn’t happen. It therefore appears that her office had no authority to maintain control of the case and to dismiss charges against Smollett. That means the dismissal was probably unauthorized and should be annulled.

In February, Foxx corresponded with Smollett’s allies about having her office duck out of the case. Foxx then recused herself, or so she said, which was widely reported. Foxx’s spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said at that time, “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.” Any number of legal commentators have already written that recusal was appropriate in light of contacts Foxx had earlier with Smollett’s family and allies.

Under Illinois law, in the event of a conflict of interest, the court or any interested party could have appointed an independent party or special prosecutor to take over the case. Under that same law, linked here, Foxx herself may have been obligated to do so.

But Foxx has now changed her story. As reported by Mark Konkol in The Patch,

Cook County State’s Attorney spokeswoman Kiera Ellis said in a statement that Fox “did not formally recuse herself or the [State’s Attorney] Office based on any actual conflict of interest. As a result, she did not have to seek the appointment of a special prosecutor.”

When Fox publicly announced that she had recused herself “it was a colloquial use of the term rather than in its legal sense,” Ellis said.

“Instead, in an abundance of caution, Fox informally separated herself from the decision-making over the case and left it to her Assistants, as happens in 99.9% of all cases handled by the Office.”

In other words, by not formally recusing herself, Foxx circumvented the law that probably would have taken the case out of her office’s hands.

I will defer to other lawyers, but it certainly appears to me that her office therefore had no authority to maintain control over the case and to dismiss the charges, so the dismissal should be voided and the prosecution reinstated by an independent prosecutor.

*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.

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1 year ago

Wow just how bad can a Cook County States Attorney screw this up. It seems there was some familiarity with Mr. Jessie Smollett. That would have required an immediate of her to recluse herself. Working in the office of Rev Al Sharpton for a couple of days is not community service. Mr. Sharpton has been know for being racially bias. You don’t self assign your community service duties. Working in the office of Rev Sharpton is not community service. It’s public service. So that leaves Kim Foxx, the Cook County attorney with a serious career problem. The investigation by the… Read more »

Herb Caplan
1 year ago

Obstruction of justice keeps coming to mind, if not something more corrupt. The only thing more offensive than the act itself is the phony explanation. There now needs to be a Grand Jury reconvened to investigate Foxx and her co-conspirators

1 year ago

Looks like this legal mob (Foxx, Raoul and Michelle Obama’s “chief of staff” Tchen now the lawyer for Smollett) are all virulent Trump-haters. Which could explain why they have so much sympathy for Smollett. Too bad they don’t understand how serious Smollett’s felony stunt was. If he had gotten away with it and had everyone believing that 2 maga Trump-supporters poured bleach on him, tied a noose around his neck, etc………there could very possibly been race-riots like we’ve never seen before. Smollett was playing with fire with that stunt, impossible to predict how bad it could’ve turned out, given how… Read more »

1 year ago

Great writing. And so far cc pres prekwinkle has nothing to say about her buddy foxx. Lightfoot keepen out of any coments as well.