In a city that already has more than enough problems to deal with, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is quickly turning into the gift that keeps on giving. The latest report coming out of the Windy City indicates that Foxx’s decision to “recuse” herself from the Jussie Smollett case and appoint her chief deputy in her place was contrary to ethics rules. What’s worse, both the deputy and her office’s chief ethics officer not only knew it, but had drawn up documents to request a special prosecutor, as should have been done. But Foxx ignored the rules and appointed Joseph Magats anyway. (NY Post)
Two spokeswomen for Foxx’s office — Tandra Simonton and Kiera Ellis — had claimed Wednesday that their boss was never informed by her staff that it would be unethical to name an underling, First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats, to oversee the case.
But a law-enforcement source told The Post on Friday that was not true.
First, the department’s chief ethics officer, April Perry, and Magats himself sought legal advice on the move and even prepared the proper documents calling for an outside special prosecutor after they were told Magats didn’t have the authority to take over for Foxx, according to an e-mail obtained through a public-records request.
Foxx was then informed of the snafu in her plan to appoint her man, Magats, the source said.
So Foxx had sent out her spokespeople to tell the press she had no idea it would be against the rules to appoint Magats. But we now know that she either knew all along or is so incompetent that she shouldn’t hold that job. If Magats himself (along with the ethics officer) had already drawn up papers to request a special prosecutor, are we seriously supposed to believe that Magats wouldn’t have at least mentioned that when she told him he was being appointed to take over the case?
The bottom line is that Foxx is obviously lying. What’s more, we already learned that after she supposedly “recused” herself, she was still meddling in the case and sending notes to Magats about it. In short, Kim Foxx’s “recusal” in the Smollett case wasn’t much of a recusal at all. It was a smokescreen intended to cover her posterior.
When Karen wrote about this aspect of the story on Wednesday I was left with a queasy feeling about what’s going on in Chicago. All of the outside tampering from the Obama clan, the midnight decision to dump the case before the police even knew it was happening and the immediate decision to seal all of the records give the obvious impression of some sort of fraud taking place. Now there’s fairly solid proof that the State’s Prosecutor has been lying about what went on all along.
So in the end, what’s going to happen? Probably nothing. Two of Foxx’s top aides have already resigned, but beyond that, it’s highly likely that nobody is going to be held accountable. The rot at the bottom of the State’s Attorney office barrel has already spread. It’s possible that enough headlines will make it so embarrassing for Foxx that she’ll decide to resign, but that’s about it. And I wouldn’t even bet on that much happening. The records are sealed. And as an elected official, she can’t be fired from her job by the Mayor or anyone else. There’s a bill moving through the state legislature that might change those rules, but for now, she can simply ride out the storm until the next election if she wants.
I guess that’s just the Chicago Way, right?