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‘Operational failures’ cited by Chicago special prosecutor in Smollett case

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A special prosecutor probing the office of the Cook County State’s Attorney over its handling of the investigation into actor Jussie Smollett concluded Monday that State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and her office had committed “substantial abuses of discretion” but found nothing that rose to the level of criminality.

Special prosecutor Dan Webb said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press that his report uncovered misleading public statements made by Foxx’s office as well as a general sense of chaos that enveloped the investigation. Foxx’s office dropped 16 charges against Smollett last year after accusing him of falsely claiming in a police report to be the victim of a racist attack, causing a furor that made international headlines.

The former “Empire” star originally claimed in early 2019 that he was the victim of an attack in which two men shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him while making references to President Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Smollett has remained steadfast in his claim that the attack was real and has accused city prosecutors in a lawsuit of malicious prosecution and perpetrating a false narrative by claiming publicly the attack was a hoax.

He is also the target of a civil suit from Chicago prosecutors arguing that he owes more than $100,000 to compensate the city for police overtime costs.

In his statement, Webb, who sharply criticized the decision to drop charges against Smollett, said that his probe “did not develop evidence that would support any criminal charges against State’s Attorney Foxx or any individual working at [her office],” but found “evidence that establishes substantial abuses of discretion and operational failures” within the office, according to the AP. 

Foxx’s office released a brief statement saying it “categorically rejects … characterizations of its exercises of prosecutorial discretion and private or public statements as ‘abuses of discretion’ or false statements to the public.”

Webb restored charges against Smollett in February.

Tags Donald Trump Jussie Smollett Jussie Smollett alleged assault

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