Foxx’s Smollett Texts Show Timeline Of What Police Knew, And When, On Dropped Charges
Updated at 1:29 p.m.
When news broke that the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office had abruptly decided to drop all charges against Jussie Smollett late last month, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson seemed surprised and upset.
“Do I think justice was served? No,” Johnson told reporters at Navy Pier.
But newly released text messages from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office suggest Johnson initially expressed satisfaction with the way the case was handled by prosecutors.
The release of hundreds of emails and texts comes as State’s Attorney Kim Foxx continues to explain and defend her office’s decision to drop the charges against Smollett, a TV star who was accused of faking a hate crime against himself.
Prosecutors dropped the charges on Tuesday, March 26. Texts show that the day before, First Assistant State’s Attorney Joe Magats, who was in charge of the Smollett case, texted Kiera Ellis, a colleague in the communications office, that she should “let Anthony know at 930 and I’ll let Bob Boik know at the same time.”
Robert Boik is the police superintendent’s chief of staff. Anthony refers to Anthony Guglielmi, a CPD spokesperson.
The next morning at 9:32 a.m., Magats and Ellis texted each other again, both confirming they had just informed CPD of the decision to drop the charges. At around the same time, prosecutors were in court notifying a judge of their decision.
Just a few minutes later, Magats got a text message from Kim Foxx: “Eddie just called.”
“[Johnson] is at a police recruit event. Needed to know how to answer questions from the press,” she texted Magats.
“Told him ‘essentially deterred [sic] prosecution. Paying 10K in restitution to the city, and completed community service’. He was just told we were dropping the case. He seemed satisfied with the explanation.”
Police Department spokesperson Luis Agostini said Wednesday in a written statement that Johnson stands by the comments he made during the press conference after his call with Foxx.
Agostini declined to comment on whether CPD received enough of a warning before the charges were dropped, writing: “It would be inappropriate to provide public judgment on the sufficiency of any communication or notification between both agencies.”
Agostini stressed the “strong” relationship between Johnson and the State’s Attorney’s Office, writing they, “frequently communicate on a wide array of topics as it relates to criminal investigations throughout Chicago.”
As news media began to get word that prosecutors had dropped charges against Smollett, Risa Lanier, an attorney on the case, sent out a text to three of her colleagues in the office.
“And so it begins,” she wrote. “ Godspeed to all of you!”
Miles Bryan is a General Assignment Reporter for WBEZ News. Follow him @miles_bryan.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly quoted a Chicago Police Department spokesman by placing quotation marks around a summary of his statement.