A Cook County judge has ordered the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate possible misconduct by Cook County’s top prosecutor in the Jussie Smollett hate crime case.
Smollett lost his job on Fox TV’s soap opera Empire after he was arrested for filing a false police report.
Smollett, 33, told police he was assaulted by 2 men who screamed: “This is MAGA country” on January 29.
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But police identified the 2 men as associates of Smollett’s who confessed they conspired with the actor to stage a hate crime hoax to boost his celebrity profile.
Chicago Tribune reporter Megan Crepeau was in the courtroom on Friday when Judge Michael Toomin ruled that State’s Attorney Kim Foxx did not have the authority to appoint her replacement when she recused herself from the Smollett case in February.
Crepeau reported that the special prosecutor may bring additional charges against Smollett, and quoted the judge as saying “the special prosecutor may commence the prosecution of any crime as may be suspected.”
The judge’s ruling stated that the special prosecutor was to be appointed so as to “restore the public’s confidence in the integrity of our criminal justice system.”
The decision to reopen the case against Smollett was prompted by public outcry after Foxx dropped all charges against the actor in March.
A legal organization accused Foxx of acting inappropriately by speaking with Michelle Obama’s former White House aide, Tina Tchen, prior to dropping all charges against Smollett.
Empire was subsequently cancelled after ratings plunged in the wake of the hate crime scandal.
Series creator Lee Daniels later complained that his public support of Smollett led to the cancellation of 2 of his series, Empire and Star. Daniels said he was “beyond embarrassed” for his vocal support for the openly homosexual actor whom he described as “my son.”