March 17, 2019

USA: Former Aide To Former First Lady Michelle Obama Urged Chicago State's Attorney To Asked Chicago Police Superintendent To Turn Over The Investigation Of Jussie Smollett’s Case To The FBI

The Chicago Tribune
written by Megan Crepeau, Jeremy Gorner
Thursday March 14, 2019

After being approached by a politically connected lawyer, State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx asked Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to turn over the investigation of Jussie Smollett’s reported attack to the FBI, according to communications provided to the Tribune.

Foxx reached out to Johnson after Tina Tchen, former chief of staff to first lady Michelle Obama, emailed Foxx saying the actor’s family had unspecified “concerns about the investigation.” Tchen, a close friend of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s wife, said she was acting on behalf of the “Empire” actor and his family. A relative later exchanged texts with Foxx.

The exchanges began Feb. 1, three days after Smollett claimed two men approached him near his Streeterville apartment building, yelled racist and homophobic slurs, hit him and put a noose after his neck. It would still be 2½ weeks before he was charged with making the story up, but some media outlets were already starting to question the actor’s account, citing unnamed police sources.

“Spoke to the Superintendent Johnson,” Foxx emailed Tchen back on Feb. 1. “I convinced him to Reach out to FBI to ask that they take over the investigation.”

The same day, Foxx texted with Smollett’s relative, whose name was blacked out in copies released by her office.

“Spoke to the superintendent earlier, he made the ask,” Foxx wrote. “Trying to figure out logistics. I’ll keep you posted.”

“Omg this would be a huge victory,” the relative replied. ๐Ÿ‘ˆ

“I make no guarantees, but I’m trying,” Foxx wrote back.

Kiera Ellis, a spokeswoman for the state’s attorney’s office, said Smollett’s relative was specifically concerned about leaks to the media that purportedly came from the Police Department.

“When she initially engaged in the communications, Mr. Smollett was still believed to be the victim of the crime,” Ellis said. “As the investigation started to change and it became a possibility that he could actually be a suspect, that is when she made the decision (to recuse herself).”

It is not uncommon for people to approach Foxx with information or concerns about cases, and it is “fairly typical” for her to contact Johnson directly to request updates or get information, Ellis said.

Tchen could not be reached for comment.

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi could not verify whether Johnson and Foxx discussed turning the case over to federal agents and refused to ask the superintendent about it.

But Guglielmi noted that the FBI had been working on the case with Chicago police from the very beginning because it was reported as a hate crime. Also, a week earlier, a letter addressed to Smollett at the “Empire” studio made racial and homophobic threats against the actor — a federal offense.

Whether Foxx’s communication to Johnson was proper depends on her motivation for making the request, said Robert Loeb, a veteran attorney who also teaches at DePaul University College of Law.

“If she’s doing a favor for somebody with some influence, that would be unprofessional and she should be criticized,” he said. “If she was trying to clean up a mess that had compromised even her own office and a clean investigation from the FBI would be in the interest of truth, then what she did is laudable.”

The released texts between Foxx and the relative stop on Feb. 13, the same day a memo was sent out by Foxx’s chief ethics officer, April Perry, informing staff that Foxx “is recused” from the Smollett investigation. It did not say why. First Assistant State’s Attorney Joe Magats, the second highest-ranking official in the office, was placed in charge of the investigation.

Her recusal was not publicly announced until Feb. 19, the day before charges were filed against Smollett alleging he made up the whole story.

Foxx’s office said she recused herself “out of an abundance of caution” because she had conversations with one of Smollett’s relatives after he reported the incident, and then acted as a go-between with Chicago police.

Foxx’s office did not elaborate on those conversations with the relative, bringing a jab from Anita Alvarez, the former state’s attorney handily defeated by Foxx in 2016.

“Maybe I should have just recused myself from the difficult cases that came across my desk when I was state’s attorney,” she posted on Facebook. “I was under the impression that when the voters elected me and I took my oath of office it meant I had to do my job.”
The Chicago Tribune
written by John Kass
Friday March 15, 2019

As TV actor and want-to-be-victim Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty on Thursday to staging his very own fake hate crime, I thought about someone else on trial in this case:

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.

The state’s attorney hasn’t been charged with anything and won’t be. She doesn’t have a formal role in the Smollett fake-hate-crime case, now that she’s recused herself owing to a conflict of interest.

But she stands in the court of public opinion after a remarkable Tribune story by reporters Megan Crepeau and Jeremy Gorner.

It is an account of how Foxx was contacted in the Smollett case by a politically connected lawyer close to Chicago’s most prominent political families, the Obamas and Emanuels.

That lawyer, Tina Tchen, was chief of staff for former first lady Michelle Obama, and she is a friend of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s wife, Amy Rule. Tchen was apparently a go-between for someone in the Smollett family.

There was literally an “omg” moment in the texts, because Foxx did what was asked of her:

She lobbied Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to drop the Smollett case and push it over to the FBI. ๐Ÿ‘ˆ

She did so as Smollett’s heroic story — that he was the victim of a hate crime committed by supporters of President Donald Trump — was being unraveled by Chicago detectives.

So how should Foxx plead on this one?

Does she plead stupidity, and say she was blinded by political lights, by someone close to the Obamas, and say she lost her way and would like to beg mercy?

Would Foxx ever give a Chicago police officer that kind of break?

No. Most cops would laugh if you asked them that.

“Spoke to the Superintendent Johnson,” Foxx said in an email to Tchen on Feb. 1 obtained by reporters. “I convinced him to Reach out to FBI to ask that they take over the investigation.”

That day, Foxx texted a Smollett relative.

“Spoke to the superintendent earlier, he made the ask,” Foxx wrote. “Trying to figure out logistics. I’ll keep you posted.”

“Omg this would be a huge victory,” the Smollett relative replied.

“I make no guarantees, but I’m trying,” Foxx replied.

“I understand,” the Smollett relative typed. “I appreciate the effort.”

Omg.

Omg, Kim Foxx, where do I go with this?

It’s easy.

People reach out all the time in politics. You’ve got a guy who’s got a guy, that’s the Chicago Way.

It just so happened that there was another Tribune story, this one with Ald. Danny Solis, 25th, talking while wired up by the feds to Victor “Whispering Vic” Reyes, a lobbyist who worked for the Daleys.

Whispering Vic wanted city business, and wanted Solis to get him some, in exchange for political fundraising.

“How ’bout anything, Danny?” Reyes was quoted as saying on an FBI wire. “How ’bout anything? Not just the big one. How about one f------ thing?”

All that was missing was Solis saying, “It’s Chinatown, Vic. It’s Chinatown.”

Foxx shouldn’t have had any contact with Tchen or the Smollett family. She’s the prosecutor for Cook County. All she had to say was, “It’s under investigation. I can’t have this conversation.”

But she did. Omg.

Foxx is the political protegee of Toni Preckwinkle, boss of the Cook County Democratic Party and president of the County Board, and a candidate for mayor of Chicago. Preckwinkle should be asked about this, as should her opponent, former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot.

Now for every heater case that comes anywhere near Foxx, cops and taxpayers will have to wonder: Is there an omg moment in this one too?

Foxx was so badly burned here that her office is trying to flip things around to say that Smollett’s family was concerned about leaks to the media from police.

“When she initially engaged in the communications, Mr. Smollett was still believed to be the victim of the crime,” Foxx spokeswoman Kiera Ellis told the Tribune. “As the investigation started to change and it became a possibility that he could actually be a suspect, that is when she made the decision (to recuse herself).”

You mean, Smollett became a suspect when the heroic story he told to his ABC media cheerleader Robin Roberts began to fall apart?

That story of how he fought off those two tough Trump supporters (who turned out to be friendly Nigerian bodybuilders) who allegedly put the rope around his neck? How he fought them off with a cellphone in one hand and a tuna sandwich in the other, and both the phone and the sandwich survived?

That story?

You know who doesn’t get to call Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and text her and have omg moments?

The victims of real crimes, not fake ones. Crimes with real blood and real pain, floating face down in Chicago’s river of violence.

Like 1-year-old Dejon Irving, shot in the gang wars just about the time Smollett wanted to become a hero.

Or what of the families torn up when the grandfather or grandmother die, weeks, sometimes months, after being attacked in street robberies that are forgotten? Or the mothers and fathers who have lost their sons and daughters to killers who are never brought to justice?

They don’t get the Kim Foxx omg moment, but they’re not stars, like Jussie Smollett.

Jussie Smollett: "I'm The Gay Tupac"
Yeah. Okay. Whatever. ๐Ÿ™„ If Jussie were so innocent and there was no evidence to convict him, why is he getting important people in major legal trouble who put their careers on the line for him because he was trying to sweep this case under the rug?!

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