CHICAGO (CBS) —  Documents related to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s handling of the Jussie Smollett case were to be released Friday.

Smollett was accused of staging his own racist and homophobic attack and filing a false police report. Just weeks after he was indicted, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office dismissed the case.

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CBS 2 Chicago is digging into the 2,000 pages of documents and is providing updates below:


The documents provide a first look at some of the key evidence in the case, including the rope that was around Smollett’s neck after the attack.

Also, the bottle of hot sauce, that was allegedly used to pour a bleach on his body.

Surveillance video of Smollett’s Mercedes in Streeterville is also contained in the documents. The images were captured in the days before the attack, and possibly show Smollett was conducting rehearsals before the attack in late January.

There are about 20 or 30 images in all.


As officials discuss whether to drop the charges against Smollett, they appear to have trouble finding a similar case.

In a text message from Chief of Staff Jennifer Ballard: “Have we asked for dispositions of disorderly cases? I would love a case that went to trial, found guilty and received only restitution and/ or community service.”

Foxx’s former spokeswoman Kiera Ellis responds she has some stats and will ask for specific cases.

“The data alone is not working,” Ballard replies. “We need one case that went to trial and had the same outcome from the judge at sentencing.”

At a news conference when Foxx dropped the charges, she said there were thousands of similar cases like Smollett’s.


Former assistant state’s attorney April Perry sends a text on Feb. 9, indicating that Foxx will recuse herself from the Smollett case because of a personal relationship with his family. In a statement released Friday, Foxx denied that she was related to anybody in the actor’s family. The nature of that relationship is still unclear.

Yet, this text about a “personal relationship” reveals an inconsistency with Foxx’s May 31 statement when the documents were released.  In that statement, she said rumors that she was “somehow connected to the Smollett family” were not true.


Based off the search warrant for Instagram, CPD says that Smollett picked the spot of the attack intentionally because of the Chicago POD camera placement (assume he was trying to find a blind spot so there is not video evidence):


On March 23, the state’s attorney discusses Smollett’s 15 hours of community service, which was supposed to be done that week. It was part of a deal in which Smollett would pay $10,000 and do the service work. (He completed 16 hours). Police thought that deal, which they first learned about a month before, would include an admission of guilt.  Foxx ended up dropping all the charges and Smollett continued to claim his innocence.


There is a large file of archived texts. So far, most of them were already covered in the media.

For example, about two weeks before charges were dropped against  Smollett, Foxx texted her staff dismissing Smollett as a “washed up celeb who lied to cops” who was being charged too harshly.


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An email was sent to media outlets at 4:48 p.m. on Friday to expect 2,000 pages of documents. The documents were dropped around 5:05 p.m.

“On May 31, 2019, the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney will release over 2,000 pages of documents related to the case,” the state’s attorney said in the statement.


“False rumors circulated that I was related or somehow connected to the Smollett family, so I removed myself from all aspects of the investigation and prosecution and delegated my authority and responsibility to my First Assistant so as to avoid even the perception of a conflict,” Foxx said in an statement.

I regret that my attempts to this end created confusion outside the office. The public’s trust is paramount to our work. That is why today I am releasing material above and beyond what is required.”

Now, some background on the case here:


Hundreds of pages investigative files in the Jussie Smollett case were released separately on Thursday afternoon by the Chicago Police Department.

The biggest development:

On Feb. 28, the day Smollett was indicted, the Chicago Police Department was told by the Cook County State’s Attorney that the case would be settled without going to trial.

According to the documents, Assistant State’s Attorney Risa Lanier “informed detectives that she felt the case would be settled with Smollett paying the City of Chicago $10,000 in restitution and doing community service.” A police spokesman said Thursday that police believed that a settlement would include some sort of admission of guilt.

However, Foxx made the decision public on March 26 to drop all 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about a hate crime.

When that decision dropped, Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said he had no advance warning of the decision.



A Cook County judge lasted week unsealed the state’s attorney’s Smollett case file

Cook County Judge Steven Watkins ruled that because Smollett voluntarily chose to speak on national television about his case, he waived his argument for privacy.

The state’s attorney’s office said it would review all of the documents in the case and release any previously sealed documents through its Freedom of Information officer.

The records were sealed after prosecutors dropped disorderly conduct charges against the “Empire” actor in March.


CBS 2 and other media outlets asked Judge Watkins to unseal the files, arguing Smollett’s arrest already made news worldwide, and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s handling of the case had raised questions.

Foxx’s office also requested that the court lift the seal on Smollett’s records, but only so that Cook County Inspector General Patrick Blanchard can use the documents in his review of the case, not so the records would be made public.



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Charlie De Mar