CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County State’s attorney Kim Foxx said Wednesday that she supports the new indictment against actor Jussie Smollett, even though her office dropped similar charges, accusing the former “Empire” actor of falsely telling police he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack, last year.
Smollett was indicted on six new charges of disorderly conduct, accusing him of filing false police reports in the case.
A special Cook County grand jury handed down the new indictment on Tuesday, following a six-month investigation by special prosecutor Dan Webb.
“Our office filed charges in this case. It was the disposition [dropping of charges] that was cause for difference,” Foxx said. “I think he had the facts, the evidence, and the law to file charges.”
Foxx had the same facts, evidence, and law as Webb when she brought charges against Smollett more than a year ago.
But her office stunningly dropped those 16 counts just weeks later.
“We are continuing to avail ourselves to a review of how this case was handled. As I said from the very beginning, we welcome a non-political review – and that’s on going, and so that’s what I’ll speak to,” Foxx said.
“We are certainly cooperating the best we can,” she added.
Foxx refused to speculate to the timing of the indictment, which comes just five weeks before the Democratic primary.
“I certainly hope the decision made in this case was based on facts, evidence, and the law,” she said.
“I certainly hope decision made in this case was based on facts, evidence & the law.”
— Eric Cox (@EricCoxTV) February 12, 2020
Webb disagrees with how Foxx’s office threw out the case. He brought back six charges against Smollett.
“The grand jury’s investigation revealed that Jussie Smollett planned and participated in a staged hate crime attack, and thereafter made numerous false statements to Chicago Police Department officers on multiple occasions, reporting a heinous hate crime that he, in fact, knew had not occurred,” Webb said in a statement.
Cook County prosecutors last year dropped the original 16 disorderly conduct charges against Smollett in March of last year, just over a month after Chicago police had accused him of orchestrating a hoax because he was upset with his salary on the TV show “Empire.”
Last August, Cook County Judge Michael Toomin appointed Webb, a former federal prosecutor, as a special prosecutor in the Smollett case; tasking him to not only investigate Foxx’s handling of the case, but to decide whether Smollett should be further prosecuted for allegedly staging a fake hate crime against himself.
In a statement on the new Smollett indictment, Webb wrote that his office “obtained sufficient factual evidence to determine that it disagrees with how the CCSAO resolved the Smollett case.”
Webb said the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office could not provide him with any evidence that the decision last year to dismiss the charges against Smollett was handled similar to other cases.
Gloria Schmidt is the attorney for the two Osundairo brothers, who were paid to help Smollett orchestrate the attack. The brothers were even caught hours before the staged encounter buying props to carry it out – using money provided by Smollett.
Schmidt’s clients spent 30 hours with Webb’s team to help them solidify the case.
“They are still so regretful for what they did and they are so embarrassed by what they did,” she said.
Schmidt she struggles to accept Foxx’s latest response to the new charges.
“I feel like she is talking out of both sides of her mouth,” Schimdt said. “If you have nothing to say that is going to clarify the situation, perhaps it’s best to say nothing at all.”
Along with the upcoming criminal proceedings later this month, there are several civil lawsuits going on involving the city, Smollett, and the Osundario brothers. They are still pending and making their way through the legal system.
Smollett is due in court on Monday, Feb. 24.