In an interview with a local news station, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx defended prosecutors’ decision to drop all charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett. “You know, I think that there is a lot of confusion. For people who do this work every day, who recognize what the charges are—this is a Class 4 felony,” she told WBEZ. “...we recognize that the likelihood that someone would get a prison sentence for a Class 4 felony is slim.” Foxx, who recused herself from the case, also pointed to the actor’s lack of criminal history to explain why the charges were dropped. “[R]ight now, there’s a lot of emotion,” she said. “And I think when you look at other Class 4 felonies, I think when you look at other disorderly conduct, and you ask have we done this before? I think the data will shed some clarity on that.” “[W]hat I can tell you is that most people who come through the criminal justice system don’t give up $10,000 of their hard earned money, or engage in volunteer services connected with an alleged offense, without viewing that as a way of being held accountable,” she added.
Smollett was accused of orchestrating a homophobic, racist hate-crime attack against himself in late January, and filing a false police report. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the decision to drop charges “a whitewash of justice.”