Democratic Party bosses have enthusiastically endorsed the re-election bid of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, giving a symbolic high five to Jussie Smollett, the TV star who claimed he was assaulted on the streets of Chicago and humiliated the city.
As I understand, Smollett’s claim, on one of the coldest days in January two brothers with a piece of rope were waiting outside his apartment building on the off chance he would get a craving for a Subway sandwich around 2 a.m. so they could shout homophobic slurs at Smollett and put the rope around his neck shaped like a noose.
After many hours of investigation, Chicago Police detectives determined that Smollett’s story was a hoax and that he had actually paid the two brothers who he knew from his TV show, “Empire,” to stage the assault.
The Smollett accusations sparked a new wave of national ridicule. When it turned out that the “Empire” star’s story appeared to be fabricated, pretty much everyone in Chicago was outraged.
Not only had the city’s reputation been dragged through the mud once again, but police officers who might have been out working real criminal cases had wasted their time working the Smollett case.
A grand jury eventually indicted Smollett on 16 counts of disorderly conduct. Evidence uncovered by the police indicated he had paid $3,500 to the brothers to place the noose around his neck while pretending to assault him.
And then Foxx dismissed all the charges against Smollett and let him go. There was no admission of guilt. No apology demanded.
On his way out of jail he said he didn’t make up the story, suggesting once more that crazed people from Chicago had attacked him and police had not only failed to uncover the evidence, but lied about him.
Foxx refused to offer any explanation at first for dropping the charges.
According to police, she hadn’t even bothered to notify them.
Foxx, who claimed to have recused herself from the case because she took a call from a relative of Smollett, apparently misled the public even about that. Her office would later issue a statement explaining she had not recused herself in “the legal sense” after news reports revealed she had been communicating with her staff and seemed to be urging the dismissal of charges.
She contends under her guidance the Cook County state’s attorney’s office is emphasizing the prosecution of violent crime. Foxx claims releasing someone who falsely reports a crime, embarrasses the entire city and wastes police time is no longer behavior worthy of punishment.
And now the Cook County Democratic Party Organization, which includes party bosses from the city and the suburbs, has announced that it agrees. It has endorsed Foxx for re-election.
This is a city where FBI agents raid the offices of Ald. Edward Burke (14th) who is charged with extorting bribes from businessmen and he is re-elected. Chicago’s the place where an alderman wears an FBI wire to collect evidence of public corruption and is called a “rat” by other aldermen.
Chicago can’t pay its teachers, yet routinely pays out millions of dollars in legal settlements for beating false confessions out of witnesses or shooting innocent people.
A judge is about to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Foxx and her actions in the Smollett case. But the Democratic bosses of Cook County endorsed her. They don’t need to hear what that probe might uncover. They know what they think.
Foxx is their candidate. There is no better symbol for the Democratic Party of Cook County.
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