Attack on Jussie Smollett: Lawyer Kim Foxx of Cook County Withdraws Investigation



CHICAGO –

Cook County lawyer Kim Foxx recused herself from the investigation into the alleged attack on "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, his office at ABC News said Tuesday.

"As a precaution, the decision to recuse itself was made to deal with possible issues of impartiality based on familiarity with potential witnesses in the case," a spokeswoman told ABC News. by e-mail.

The first deputy prosecutor, Joseph Magats, will be the state's attorney, a spokesman for the Foxx office said.

Earlier Tuesday, Smollett was said to have been "unfounded" by Chicago police, according to CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, during the attack on two brothers who were arrested and released without charge.

Smollett reported in January that he had been attacked by two masked men who had thrown him under racist and homophobic slurs, beat him and put him a rope in his neck in the neighborhood. Streeterville.

A stranger who lived in the Smollett building or was visiting a resident of the building said he saw the three men together in a building elevator on the night in question, Guglielmi said.

Guglielmi tweeted Tuesday night.

A few hours earlier, the brothers and their lawyer were seen at the Leighton Criminal Court building. The lawyer was seen leaving at around 3:45 pm. no comment. Chicago police told ABC News that the two brothers had met with prosecutors and police but had not testified before a grand jury on Tuesday.

On Monday, a law enforcement official informed of the investigation told ABC News that the brothers had told the police that Smollett had staged the attack on himself because he had been arrested by police. he was upset by a threatening letter that he had received a week before.

The detectives are actively investigating the allegation, but have not confirmed it, the official said.

Chicago police said this weekend that she was "eager" to re-interview Smollett after releasing the two brothers, who had initially been identified as people of interest for the alleged attack. A spokeswoman for Smollett said her lawyers were talking to the police.

The two brothers, who are not considered suspects in the attack, also told the police that they were being paid to organize the attack, the official said.

"We are not racist, we are not homophobic and we are not anti-Trump, we were born and raised in Chicago and we are American citizens," the brothers said in a statement.

RELATED: Chronology of key moments of the alleged attack on the actor & # 39; Empire & # 39;

FBI and US Postal Inspection Service Investigate January 22 Letter to Chicago Studio for "Empire" and Smollett's Role in Sending Letter, Two Federal Officials Confirmed at ABC News. The letter is currently in the FBI's crime lab for analysis, according to one of these sources.

Last week, Smollett met Robin Roberts of Good Morning America and talked about the letter.

"Just because on the letter, there was a guy hanging from a tree with a gun pointing at her with the words that say," Smollett, Jussie, you'll die, black (expletive), "said Smollett. "There was no address, but the return address is indicated in large, in red, you know, in capital letters," MAGA. "Did I invent that too?"

WATCH: Jussie Smollett interview with "Good Morning America": "I'm not weak"

After the police department had investigated Smollett's attack for several weeks as a possible hate crime, they discovered that one of the brothers had bought the rope for the attack at a local hardware store . The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the store was Ravenswood's Crafty Beaver hardware store.

RELATED: Brethren tell police that Jussie Smollett paid them to organize an attack, sources said

On Saturday afternoon, Smollett's lawyers, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, issued a statement in which they said the actor might have organized the attack.

"As a victim of a hate crime that has collaborated in the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is irritated and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are people with whom he is familiar He was further victim of acts attributed to those alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack, nothing is further from the truth and whoever claims otherwise was lying.

"One of those suspects was Jussie's personal trainer whom he had hired to physically prepare him for a music video.It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime." committed against Jussie or falsely claiming the complicity of Jussie.

"Jussie and his lawyers anticipate that the Chicago Police Department will provide further information on the state of progress of the investigation and will continue to cooperate." At present, Jussie and his lawyers have no intention of reacting to the "anonymous" sources contained in the investigation, but will continue the discussions through the official channels ".

A spokesman for CPD said Sunday: "Although we are unable to confirm, refute or comment on the validity of what has been published informally, information has been taken into account in the part of this investigation and the investigators must follow anyone who reported the incident. "

ABC7 Eyewitness News also learned Tuesday that Smollett had not pleaded any challenge against DUI, driving without a license and providing false information to police in Los Angeles in 2007. He was sentenced to two years probation and passed three days in prison or to pay a fine. of $ 100 for the three charges of misdemeanor, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, although it is not clear which option he has chosen.

If he is found guilty of filing a false police report, which is a crime in Illinois, Smollett could be sentenced to three years in prison.

Also on Tuesday, a group of mothers who lost their sons as a result of violence and whose cases remain unresolved gathered to talk about the amount of resources devoted to the Smollett affair rather than the unsolved cases of their victims. son.

"I'm just asking the Chicago Police to listen to our words and listen to what we are talking about today," said Sheila Rush, whose son was murdered. "As I said, it's been nine years and I want justice done."


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