The State Attorney's Office in Chicago was not prepared for the response to the handling of "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett's allegedly false hate crime report according to thousands of text messages obtained by HuffPost.
Having reused himself from the case, Cook County state lawyer Kim Foxx called Smollett a "washed up celeb" and criticized the number of charges filed with him.
"So …… I am recycled, but when people accuse the transfer of cases … 16 counts on a class 4 [felony] is exhibited A," Foxx said in a text message to the first assistant state lawyer Joseph Magats on March 8th. She sent the message the same day a large jury accused Smollett of 16 felony counts accusing him of decaying a hate crime against himself.
"4-victim pedophilia 10 counts," Foxx continued to refer to the criminal sexual assault filed for accused pedophile R. Kelly two weeks earlier. "Washed up celeb who lied to the police, 16 counts."
"In a case eligible for postponement, I think it is indicative of something we should look at in general," she said. "Just because we can charge something doesn't mean we should."
"It's not who we want to be," she added later.
The text messages obtained through a request for freedom of information law also show that Foxx continued to consult with his team, even though she informally withdrew from Smollett's case. She announced that she would no longer be involved in the case after her office showed she had ties to potential witnesses, a spokesman told NBC News at the time. Her recall made Magats the state's lawyer for Smollett's case.
Foxx said in a statement to CNN on Tuesday night that Foxx defended his communication with Mike and her team after her recall.
Foxx said she reached Magats "to discuss revision of office policies to ensure consistency in our charging and use of the relevant tax authority."
"I was elected to introduce a criminal reform and that Includes intentionality, consistency and discretion. I will continue to uphold these guiding principles, "Foxx said about CNN.
The charges against Smollett were dropped on March 26, sparking confusion and evoking rebukes from Chicago police and mayor Rahm Emanuel.
] Jussie Smollett at FOX's Empire
Emanuel called it a "laundering of justice" and claimed that Smollett was "freed of shots" because he was famous. Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters he did not believe justice had been earned and said, "I think this city still owes an excuse" from Smollett.
The text messages between Foxx and others in the state lawyer's communications team released Tuesday night show that the office was unprepared for backlash.
In a text message sent on the day when the tax was dropped, Foxx said she told Johnson that they were dismissed because he had reached a postponed prosecution agreement. As part of the deal, Foxx said the actor paid "$ 10k refund to the city and completed community service."
The State Attorney's Office also appeared to be annoyed by media reports that suggested it had agreed to seal Smollett's court file without explanation.
"We agreed not to seal the legal file," says Kiera Ellis, director of external affairs for the public prosecutor, in a text reply to such a news article. "An immediate seal of his record under the law was granted … sheesh."
When criticism of the lost charges continued, Assistant State Attorney Risa Lanier sent a message to Magats who expressed some frustration with the answer.
"Just wish I could have expected the size of this answer and planned a little better," she wrote.
"There really is no planning for this. It's the right decision," Magats wrote back.
Foxx requested that Cook County Inspector General open a study of her office's handling of Smollett's case, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
"Ensuring that I and my office have the trust and trust of the community is crucial to me, so I invited an independent review of this matter," Foxx said in a statement last week. "I welcome this study and promise my full cooperation and cooperation with my office as IG [Patrick] Blanchard makes his review."
Sam Levine has contributed to this report.
- This article was originally featured on HuffPost.