The new Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, has not yet been sworn in and she already has a top priority: to determine exactly what is happening in the Cook County Attorney's Office, Kim Foxx.
Lightfoot, who won the mayor's election in Chicago Tuesday at nearly 50 points, is the first black woman (and the city's first openly gay mayor) to campaign largely as an underdog of the Chicago machine. . Lightfoot is herself a former US deputy prosecutor, who served as the police chief and the Chicago Police Responsibility Board after leaving the legal practice for public service.
Foxx and others had probably hoped that the change in leadership from outgoing mayor Rahm Emanuel to outgoing mayor Lightfoot would ease pressure on the prosecutor's office, which has been under the microscope since dropping 17 charges against the star from "Empire" Jussie Smollett. for allegedly simulating a hate crime in January.
In an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday, Lightfoot is committed to getting to the bottom of things in the Smollett case and suggested that Smollett should be "held accountable".
"The state attorney's office here, who made the unilateral decision to drop the charges, has to give a much more complete explanation," Lightfoot said, according to The Wrap.
"We can not create the perception that if you're rich or famous, or both, if you have justice and for everyone, it's something a lot harder." That's wrong, and we We need to make sure that we have a criminal system of honest justice, "she continued." The state attorney's office needs to provide more information about the reasons that motivated its decision to be brought to justice. " give up the prosecution. "
When asked what was the evidence to prosecute Smollett and if she thought that Smollett was innocent of the charges brought by both the prosecutor's office and a grand jury, Lightfoot was not detention.
"I saw … a very compelling case," she said, "with videotapes, witness statements and other information that gave the impression that it was had organized a hoax. And if that happens, he must be held responsible. "
Lightfoot's words echo those of the current mayor, Rahm Emanuel, who has called the Foxx office's actions to abandon the case against Smollett of "Laundering Justice". Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson have repeatedly decried the decision. The Chicago law department gave Smollett a $ 130,000 bill for restitution, paying police overtime to investigate Smollett's "hate crime".
Smollett has up to now, through the intermediary of his lawyers, refused to pay.
Lightfoot, of course, has no reason to stay behind Foxx. Lightfoot's opponent during the last mayoral race was the chairman of the Cook County Board of Directors, Toni Preckwinkle, Foxx's friend and mentor, who was backing Foxx's campaign for the prosecutor's office. State (Foxx was Preckwinkle's chief of staff during the early years at the direction of Cook County by Preckwinkle). Foxx is much more in tune with the democratic "machine" of Chicago, and Lightfoot clearly wants to prove that she is an independent mayor.
The situation does not bode well for Foxx. In addition to Lightfoot's lack of confidence, police chiefs in almost every county in Cook County signed a letter expressing their "lack of trust" in the Cook County Attorney's Office. Foxx's decision in the Smollett case is only the visible part of the iceberg; Police now fear that the smoother and sweeter treatment the prosecutor has reserved for criminals has made Cook County less safe, especially in light of the death of a Chicago police officer at the time of the war. a man who had been released from probation despite a violent past.