State’s Attorney recuses herself from Jussie Smollett investigation

Posted at 9:12 AM, Feb 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-20 09:12:43-05

CHICAGO — State's Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself Tuesday from the investigation surrounding "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett's alleged attack.

A spokesperson for Foxx said the acting state's attorney for the investigation will be First Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Magats. Tandra Simonton, Foxx's chief communications officer, issued the following statement:

Out of an abundance of caution, the decision to recuse herself was made to address potential questions of impartiality based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case.

Earlier Tuesday, Chicago police said a tip from someone who said they may have seen Smollett and two men who allegedly attacked him together the night of the incident was unfounded, according to WGN.

Chicago police were investigating a tip that on the night Smollett reported being attacked by two masked men, he was in an elevator of his apartment building with the two brothers who later arrested and released from custody in the probe, a department spokesman told The Associated Press Tuesday.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the person who lives in the building or was visiting someone there reported seeing the three together the night in question last month. That tip was unfounded, police said.

Smollett said two masked men hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him, beat him and looped a rope around his neck.

TMZ reports the two brothers, who were once suspects, admit to rehearsing the altercation between them and Smollett. TMZ also reports the case could be headed to a grand jury as early as Tuesday, for an indictment against the actor for filing a fake police report.

Chicago police told WGN, they expect to meet again with Smollett and his attorneys sometime Tuesday or Wednesday.

Smollett says he was attacked in late January near his Streeterville apartment by two men. He said he was beaten, a noose thrown around his neck and his attackers used homophobic and racial slurs.

Last week, the two Chicago brothers, held as suspects, were interrogated and released. One of those brothers being a personal trainer to Smollett.

Smollett’s attorneys released the following statement over the weekend:

As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with. He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.

One of those purported suspects was Jussie's personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video. It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie's complicity.

Jussie and his attorneys anticipate being further updated by Chicago Police Department on the status of the investigation and will continue to cooperate. At the present time, Jussie and his attorneys have no inclination to respond to "unnamed" sources inside of the investigation, but will continue discussions through official channels."

TMZ also reported that Smollett actually took police to the scene where the attack allegedly happened, and pointed to a camera that may have captured the beating, but that camera was facing the wrong direction.