By this time, you’ve probably heard that Dan Webb has been appointed as the special prosecutor in the investigation into the entire Jussie Smollett fake hate crime fiasco. As he gets on with his work, it’s anticipated that he will be calling Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in for questioning. Foxx has a lot to answer for, being the person who mysteriously dropped all the charges against Smollett proposed by the grand jury.
Who did she talk to prior to making that decision? Why did she say she recused herself when she really didn’t? At the Chicago Tribune, veteran columnist John Kass is posing a different question, however. It came up during a segment of his podcast, The Chicago Way, while talking to retired judge Sheila O’Brien. Will Foxx take the Fifth? And what happens next if she does?
“You think she’ll take the Fifth?” retired Judge Sheila O’Brien asked on my podcast, “The Chicago Way.”
Stunning questions are often the simplest. I was stunned to the soles of my shoes.
“That’s my question. Does she take the Fifth? Think of it,” O’Brien said. “You’re Kim Foxx now, and you’re thinking, ‘I’ve got to hire a lawyer.’ The county can’t pay for that, I don’t think. Hope not. You’re her lawyer now. What do you do? She has that right. Do you have her take the Fifth?”
According to other lawyers and judges I interviewed, Foxx’s defense attorneys would be sorely tempted to have her take the Fifth, even before a grand jury.
Keep in mind that Foxx is in the middle of running for reelection. Could a State’s Attorney actually plead the Fifth to avoid incriminating herself under oath? Well, obviously she could. Anyone can. But could she still be elected after doing that? Would she even be able to stay in the race with a straight face? Oh, who am I kidding? This is Chicago we’re talking about.
Kass is really focusing on Foxx as the key potential villain in this entire debacle, far more so than Smollett himself. He goes so far as to say he doesn’t care whether or not he goes to jail, calling him “a show pony, a pimple in this drama.” The real crime here, he claims, is the damage done to “the integrity of the justice system in corrupt Cook County.”
I can sympathize with that point of view to a certain degree, but I’m not sure we should be so quick to let Smollett off the hook entirely. He remains the sole person allegedly responsible for the fake police reports and all of the flotsam and jetsam that followed. A grand jury found the case both convincing and serious enough to merit legal charges that could result in jail time.
Yes, it certainly appears that Foxx’s office was up to something odious, cutting deals and making contacts with famous celebrities and people with powerful political connections so their friend wouldn’t end up in jail. But if that’s the case, Smollett didn’t create that problem. He simply cast a national spotlight on it.
Kass goes on to point out that Foxx has made no secret of her hopes to one day replace Dick Durbin in the Senate. Along the way, she has been building relationships and connections with Hollywood stars and prominent politicians including both the Obama clan and Kamala Harris. What becomes of those ambitions if she winds up in front of a grand jury with her hand on a bible, saying she refuses to answer the questions to avoid self-incrimination?
From all of her public statements to date, it certainly appears as if Kim Foxx believes herself to be untouchable, cradled safely in the security of the Chicago Democratic political machine. Perhaps we’ll see that theory put to the test in the weeks to come.