Foxx focuses on reelection — not new Smollett indictment: ‘The charging of this case is not surprising’

With the March 17 primary looming, Foxx said she is focusing on “getting through the next several weeks” — and reminding voters there’s more to the job than Jussie Smollett.

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Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx accepts the endorsement of Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth Friday. Cook County Commissioner Bridget Degnen looks on.

Rachel Hinton/ Sun-Times

A special prosecutor’s decision to indict actor Jussie Smollet all over again catapulted the controversial case back into the headlines this week and rocked Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s reelection campaign, but the first-term prosecutor on Friday suggested the political bombshell was no big shock.

“We charged this case. It is the disposition of the case that caused people to have questions, and so the charging of this case is not surprising,” Foxx said.

Her office did file charges against Smollett — but those charges were dropped last March in a stunning reversal that has dogged Foxx’s campaign.

Foxx on Friday made her first public appearance since special prosecutor Dan Webb filed six new charges against the former “Empire” actor for allegedly filing four separate false reports to the Chicago Police Department and claiming to be the victim of a hate crime.She spoke at a news conference called to spotlight the endorsement of Sen. Tammy Duckworth.

With the March 17 primary looming, Foxx said she is focusing on “getting through the next several weeks” — and reminding voters there’s more to the job than Smollett.

“I will continue to say that there are people who are interested in this case, but I will remind the voters, and all of you, of the significant work that is done in this office each and every day on violent crime, on sexual predators, by those who keep our streets safe,” Foxx said.

Duckworth’s support was not a big surprise, either. Foxx previously listed the Hoffman Estates Democrat as an endorser, but the Friday news conference marked the first statement from the Illinois senator about that support.

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth. File Photo.

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth. File Photo.

Rich Hein/Sun-Times

“Under Kim Foxx, and with her initiatives like the gun strategies task force, violent gun crimes are now the most prosecuted offense and shootings and murders are down 20 percent,” Duckworth said. “That is progress and that is what effective leaders do. And I know that when she’s reelected she’ll keep making progress on the issues that matter to people all across the country.”

Foxx has been focusing on endorsements rather than the Smollett fallout.

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders endorsed Foxx on Thursday, predicting she will “fundamentally transform our racist and broken criminal justice system.”

Last week, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is also running for president, endorsed Foxx. The first-term prosecutor has also received the backing of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin.

Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren in 2019. File Photo.

Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren speaks during a town hall in the Auditorium Theater at Roosevelt University in 2019. File Photo.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

The endorsements also follow a Chicago Tribune report that found problems in the data analysis Cook County Chief Judge Tim Evans used to defend his bail reform initiative — an issue that Foxx champions as part of her criminal justice push.

Evans’ report concluded violent crime did not rise after judges began implementing his reforms, which included releasing many suspects with reduced or no bail. But the Tribune found a number of problems with Evans’ data and the analysis of it.

Foxx said “the efforts that have been made in the last several years to try to right size the system is not without the ability to continue to tweak.”

“I think, as we look at trends in numbers, as we look and see who has been let out, there’s always room for improvement,” Foxx said. “And so I don’t think that anyone has suggested that we have solved this ... the report allows for us an opportunity to see where we have gaps and to fill those gaps.”

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx answers questions from the media Saturday during a press conference at Rainbow PUSH. | Leslie Adkins/For the Sun-Times. File Photo.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx answers questions from the media Saturday during a press conference at Rainbow Push. File Photo.

Leslie Adkins/For the Sun-Times.

Foxx said she’s focused on “getting through the next several weeks” and getting her message out before voters hit the polls in a little more than a month.

“I always say that the politicization of what happens in this office is deeply troubling,” Foxx said. “And from the very beginning … I said that we would welcome an outside non-political review, and now that matter has been taken up by the special prosecutor. We’re going to continue to run our race and talk about the issues that matter to the people of Cook County, like gun violence and righting the wrongs for the past.”

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