CHICAGO (CBS) — A court filing has revealed that Dan Webb, the special prosecutor appointed in the Jussie Smollett case, once donated $1,000 to Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
Foxx’s attorney first revealed the donation to Webb, who in turn disclosed it to the court.
“On Tuesday of last week, my campaign staff notified me that Dan Webb had contributed $1,000 to my campaign in October 2016,” Foxx said in a statement. “Mr. Webb was notified that same day, and my office continues to cooperate fully with the investigation.”
The donation came from a fundraiser in October 2016 at the law firm Winston & Strawn, where Webb serves as a co-executive chairman.
Webb also added that it is common for partners at the law firm to host fundraisers and to show support. He almost always donates, unless he has a specific reason he does not want to support the candidate.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, Webb said he does not remember writing the check and thus did not tell the judge who appointed him. It is a potential problem for the recently-selected special prosecutor.
Smollett is accused of lying to Chicago police, telling them in January that he was beat up and the victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime.
Police claim Smollett actually staged the attack. But in March, charges were suddenly dropped against Smollett by Foxx.
In August, Cook County Criminal Court Judge Michael Toomin appointed Webb as a special prosecutor to investigate the State’s Attorney’s office’s decision to drop the charges.
Toomin had earlier ruled that a special prosecutor was needed in the case, due to “unprecedented irregularities” in how Foxx handled the case, specifically by handing it over to her second-in-command after announcing she had recused herself.
The judge said Foxx had no authority to appoint someone to take over the case for her, so every decision her office made — from charging Smollett, to indicting him, to ultimately dismissing the case — was invalid.
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Webb was assigned not only to investigate how Foxx’s office handled the case, but also to determine whether Smollett should be further prosecuted for allegedly staging a hoax hate crime.
“I don’t know where this case is going,” Webb said upon his appointment. “I’m going to take this case one step at a time, I have to master the facts.”
Toomin interviewed Webb prior to appointing him, and Webb at the time told him that he “did not know Kim Foxx” and to the best of his recollection had “never met Kim Foxx” and had never had any communications with her.
But the 2016 campaign flier showed that Webb’s firm not only hosted the event, but that his name was right there on the invite. He even signed a personal check for a grand to her campaign.
“That’s a pretty big disclosure to make at this point in time,” said CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller. “At the very least, it’s an oversight.”
On Monday night, Foxx was collecting more donations in Chicago – holding a fundraiser at a River North restaurant as she gears up for her re-election campaign.
Foxx said she will continue to cooperate with the further investigation into the Smollett case.
“I made a $1,000 contribution to a political candidate, I would remember it,” Miller said. “He did disclose this promptly. It will be interesting to see if Judge Toomin thinks it’s a major issue.”
Webb requested a hearing for the end of this week.
Miller said Toomin could decide to remove Webb as special prosecutor, but believes that to be unlikely. Toomin could also simply hear both sides and move on.
The court filing reveals that Foxx does not intend on claiming any kind of conflict of interest.