The FBI has launched probe into why state prosecutors suddenly dropped all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett.
All 16 felony disorderly conduct counts against Smollett for allegedly lying to police were dropped Tuesday in exchange for community service and forfeiture of his $10,000 bond payment. A hearing Wednesday to expunge his criminal record has been delayed.
CPD released those records in response to a Freedom of Information Act request Wednesday morning, not realizing that the records were part of a judge’s order from Tuesday to seal all criminal records related to the case, according to CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. Once the department was made aware that the records were part of the judge’s order to seal, they stopped the release of any other documents.
A spokesperson for the FBI’s Chicago office declined to comment.
On Wednesday, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx defended her office’s decision to drop all charges against Smollett, who was accused of staging a racist and homophobic attack on himself.
“I believe this is a just outcome based on the circumstances,” Foxx said.
Foxx said that the practice of dropping charges in exchange for community service and restitution is not uncommon for the Class 4 felonies that Smollett was charged with.
Even as Foxx said Smollett received no special treatment, officials in her office were circulating a memo that raised fresh questions. The email, confirmed by the I-Team, asked Cook County prosecutors for examples of cases like where charges were dropped under circumstances similar to Smollett’s.
“Nobody is in trouble, we are just looking for further examples,” the email read, in part.
Foxx also echoed the office’s sentiment that the decision to drop charges against Smollett is not an exoneration.
“We believe that the facts were sufficient to charge and try Mr. Smollett for the crimes,” Foxx said.
While a court did not find him guilty, she said: “Based on the facts and the evidence that was presented in the charging decision that was made by this office, this office believed that they could prove him guilty.”
Watch Kim Foxx’s interview below.