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In the realm of criminal cases not filed, Jussie Smollett's was about a 6.7 on the Richter scale in the celebrity crime world.
Now it is sending aftershocks through the Chicago prosecutor's office. Attorney Kim Foxx is under fire over an alleged conflict of interest in her decision not to prosecute the actor.
If you haven't been watching the show (and we don't mean Empire), Smollet was indicted and then un-indicted on 16 felony counts for allegedly staging his own beat-down. It looks like the drama will enter a second season.
According to reports, Smollett still had a noose around his neck when police arrived to question him at his apartment in January. Allegedly two white men attacked him, yelled racial slurs, and proceeded to string him up. The actor seemingly escaped with this life. Of course, all is not as it seems in Hollywood -- or Chicago. It turned out that Smollett apparently orchestrated the attack, resulting in the felony indictments. But the plot thickened, in the same way milk curdles. It kinda stunk. The charges were dropped with conditions, including forfeiture of $10,000 bail and community service. That's where Foxx entered, stage left.
Contrary to a public outcry, Foxx said she had "no actual conflict of interest" when she decided to drop the charges. Yes, she texted the actor's family about it, but that's private -- or not.
That's Private -- Or Not
Foxx is getting a lesson in the court of public opinion. Many are calling for her dismissal. Some say she is corrupt.
Sheila O'Brien, a former judge, wants the Smollett case to be made more public, if that's possible. For now, part of the record is sealed. O'Brien has petitioned the court for a special prosecutor to look into the dismissal, and subpoenaed Foxx to appear in court and explain herself. The embattled prosecutor has filed a motion to dismiss the request. She says her office did nothing wrong because it was standard procedure to drop the case.
Meanwhile, the alleged attackers have sued Smollett's attorneys for defamation. The Nigerian brothers said Smollett paid them to stage the attack.