The Cook County state’s attorney’s office has retained Ruben Castillo, the former chief judge of the Northern District of Illinois, to help the office navigate a special prosecutor’s inquiry into the Jussie Smollett affair, according to a report published Tuesday.
Castillo told Crain’s Chicago Business that Kim Foxx’s office had retained him and a team of other attorneys from Akerman LLP in October to aid the state’s attorney’s office as special prosecutor Dan Webb investigates the handling of the now-infamous Smollett case.
A spokeswoman for the state’s attorney’s office did not confirm Castillo’s involvement, but in an emailed statement said: “It is not uncommon for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to retain outside counsel in certain cases. We have retained Akerman LLP to represent and advise the office on this matter, with which we continue to fully cooperate.”
Akerman has not been paid for their services yet, according to the state’s attorney’s office.
Speaking with Crain’s, Castillo, who retired from the federal bench last year, said Webb “has kept us busy” with his requests for documents related to the case.
“I don’t see that I’m defending [the state’s attorney’s office],” Castillo said. “I see myself as assisting.”
Cook County Judge Michael Toomin appointed Webb — a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois — as special prosecutor in August. Webb was tasked with investigating the evidence against the former “Empire” actor and possibly issue new charges, as well as review how Foxx’s office handled the unorthodox decision to drop all charges against the actor just weeks after a grand jury indicted him for allegedly staging a hate crime.