Advertisement

Chicago prosecutor says Jussie Smollett ‘culpable’, but defends dropping charges

Click to play video 'Chicago prosecutor defends her department’s decision to drop Jussie Smollett charges' Chicago prosecutor defends her department’s decision to drop Jussie Smollett charges
WATCH: Chicago prosecutor defends her department's decision to drop Jussie Smollett charges – Mar 27, 2019

Chicago’s top prosecutor said on Wednesday that her office believed actor Jussie Smollett “culpable” in the criminal case where police say he staged being the victim of a hate crime attack but said her office never intended to seal the court records.

But Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, whose office has come under criticism for abruptly and secretly dropping the charges against Smollett, in an interview with local ABC7-TV side-stepped questions over whether she personally believed he was guilty.WATCH: Prosecutor who dropped charges against Jussie Smollett says he personally believes he’s guilty
Click to play video 'Prosecutor who dropped charges against Jussie Smollett says he personally believes he’s guilty' Prosecutor who dropped charges against Jussie Smollett says he personally believes he’s guilty
Prosecutor who dropped charges against Jussie Smollett says he personally believes he’s guilty – Mar 27, 2019
“I think this office, based on (the) charging decisions, believed that he is culpable of doing that,” Foxx said, referring to accusations that he staged the attack and lied to police.READ MORE: Police reportedly paid for hotels, security for brothers in Jussie Smollett caseSmollett, who is black and gay, ignited a firestorm on social media by telling police on Jan. 29 that two apparent supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump struck him, put a noose around his neck and poured bleach over him.The 36-year-old actor, best known for his role on the Twentieth Century Fox Television hip-hop drama “Empire,” was charged in February with staging the incident himself and filing a false police report.WATCH: Jussie Smollett charges dropped
Click to play video 'Jussie Smollett Charges Dropped' Jussie Smollett Charges Dropped
Jussie Smollett Charges Dropped – Mar 26, 2019
On Tuesday, prosecutors suddenly dropped all charges against Smollett. The case file was sealed by a Chicago judge, further angering critics.“The court file was not supposed to be sealed. I think what happened was the clerk sealed the whole thing,” Foxx told ABC7. “We … do not believe that the court file should be sealed. We believe in transparency, even on difficult situations.”READ MORE: All criminal charges against Jussie Smollett droppedFoxx recused herself from the case before charges were filed against Smollett because of conversations she had about the incident with one of Smollett‘s relatives, according to her spokesman.Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told ABC News on Wednesday in a separate interview that he wanted “get to the bottom,” of what happened in the Smollett case, adding that the actor “abused” the city of Chicago by claiming to have been vindicated.“The state’s attorney’s office is saying he’s not exonerated, he actually did commit this hoax,” Emanuel said in the ABC interview. “He’s saying he’s innocent and his words are true. They better get their stories straight, because this is making fools of all us.”WATCH: Illinois State Attorney denies status, privilege played role in charges being dropped against Jussie Smollett
Click to play video 'Illinois State Attorney denies status, privilege played role in charges being dropped against Jussie Smollett' Illinois State Attorney denies status, privilege played role in charges being dropped against Jussie Smollett
Illinois State Attorney denies status, privilege played role in charges being dropped against Jussie Smollett – Mar 26, 2019
The Chicago Police Department released what it said were all its records from the case on Wednesday, totaling 61 pages, with some names and other personal details redacted.On Tuesday, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson also criticized the prosecutor’s decision, saying it did not serve justice.Smollett had pleaded not guilty to the charges, and told reporters on Tuesday he had been “truthful and consistent” in maintaining his innocence.WATCH: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel lays into Jussie Smollett ‘How dare you?’
Click to play video 'Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel lays into Jussie Smollett: How dare you?' Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel lays into Jussie Smollett: How dare you?
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel lays into Jussie Smollett: How dare you? – Mar 26, 2019
His lawyers said they were “disappointed” with authorities for persisting with “their campaign against Jussie Smollett” after the charges were dropped.“The case is closed. No public official has the right to violate Mr. Smollett’s due process rights,” his lawyers said in a statement.“Mr. Smollett, like every citizen, is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law… We respectfully request all government agencies involved live up to the ethical tenants of their office, state and local law, Supreme Court rules on trial publicity as well as the rules of professional responsibility for lawyers and prosecutors.”Smollett’s lawyers said he hopes to move on with his acting career, but it remains unclear whether he will return to “Empire” after being written out of the last two episodes of the most recent season.

— With files from Global News

Advertisement