Cook County Inspector General Patrick Blanchard told local officials that he had been asked by State's Attorney Kim Foxx to review how her office handled the case of Jussie Smollett.
“This letter is written to inform you that this office has received a request by State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to conduct an Office of the Independent Inspector General review of the circumstances surrounding the resolution of criminal charges formerly pending against Jussie Smollett,” Blanchard said in a letter obtained by the Chicago Tribune on Friday.
“As you may recall, the office of the Cook County State’s Attorney has previously objected to the exercise of jurisdiction by this office over the SAO in relation to other unrelated issues. State’s Attorney Foxx has stated that her office will cooperate during the course of this review notwithstanding prior objections to OIIG jurisdiction," he added.
Smollett made international headlines when he told police he had been attacked in Chicago on January 29 by two men who shouted homophobic and racist slurs at him while beating him and wrapping a noose around his neck.
Chicago police began a hate crime investigation but eventually turned their attention to Smollett after the two men implicated in the attack, brothers who reportedly knew the Empire actor, claimed they were paid $3,500 to stage the entire thing. Smollett was then indicted on 16 charges for allegedly lying to police, but Foxx later dropped them all and sealed his file on March 26.
Although police and even the mayor of Chicago were livid about the decision to drop the charges, Smollett still says he was attacked on January 29. On Thursday, the city filed a civil complaint against Smollett after he refused to pay back the alleged $130,000 spent by police on his case.
Foxx confirmed the investigation on Friday in a statement to the Tribune, touting Blanchard's storied history of investigating significant figures in Chicago politics.
“Ensuring that I and my office have the community’s trust and confidence is paramount to me, which is why I invited an independent review of this matter," she said. "I welcome this investigation and pledge my full cooperation and the cooperation of my office as IG Blanchard conducts his review.”
Foxx has already admitted that she was forced to recuse herself from the investigation a week before the decision to drop the charges was made. According to ABC, she recused herself after speaking to her office's chief ethics officer because she had talked to a relative of Smollett's as well as Tina Tchen, the former chief of staff to Michelle Obama, who was working on behalf of the Smollett family.
Cook County First Assistant State's Attorney Joe Magats eventually made the decision to drop the charges in place of Foxx, but police officers were still furious and vowed to make her pay for the move.
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