Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx's handling of the controversial Jussie Smollett alleged hate crime case - including the contentious decision to suddenly drop all charges against him - will be examined by a special prosecutor, an IL judge ruled Friday afternoon.
Foxx had recused herself early in the case, after it was revealed that she had spoken with a Smollett family member and tried to intervene to get federal authorities to investigate.
Toomin said she should not have appointed First Assistant State's Attorney Joseph Magats in her place to take charge of the case.
Critics have said, had Foxx truly recused herself of the case, it would have been handed over to a state's attorney from a different county.
Foxx recused herself from the case before charges were filed against Smollett because of conversations she had about the incident with one of Smollett's relatives, according to her spokesman.
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Previously, Chicago State's Attorney Kim Foxx was reportedly facing pressure to push the issue on further prosecution for Jussie Smollett and his case. Her office charged Smollett with 16 counts of disorderly conduct after police concluded that Smollett had staged the early-morning January 29 attack on himself and had paid two acquaintances to help him pull it off.
Depending on the special prosecutor's findings, the disposition of Smollett's case could be nullified, Toomin said, citing the outcomes of similar inquiries.
In a statement released Friday, Foxx said she was pleased the court agreed there was no conflict of interest, but said she was acting on the advice of her then chief ethics officer when she made a decision to recuse herself. He also said the special prosecutor could bring charges against Smollett if they have "reasonable grounds to believe that any other criminal offense was committed", Chicago media outlets reported. "County prosecutors oppose the move, saying a special prosecutor would duplicate the efforts of the county inspector general's office".
Police later charged Smollett with filing a false police report and accused him of paying $3,500 to two men to stage the attack to generate public sympathy.
As for Smollett, who already wasn't planning on returning to Empire for its next season on air, it's likely time to once again start preparing a big-time legal defense - just in case.