Kim Foxx Faces '20 Years in Prison' if Convicted of Corruption for Smollett Case
Former deputy asst AG says state's attorney could be facing jail time over Jussie Smollett
Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx could face "20 years in prison" if she's convicted for corruption over her office's decision to drop all felony charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett, according to former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo.
Speaking to Laura Ingraham on Fox News Thursday night, Yoo said if Foxx is investigated and charged by the Justice Department for her role in the fiasco, it could lead to lengthy jail time for the head of the nation's second largest prosecutor's office.
Yoo added that, if Foxx is convicted, she could also be "potentially liable" for "mail wire fraud" due to her actions "depriving citizens" of her sworn duty to provide "honest services."
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John Yoo: "This is why we have a US Justice Department.
"OK, so maybe they just spent a lot of time investigating President Trump to no good effect, but now they actually exist to make sure there is no corruption going on in state government.
"If you look at the details of this case where Mrs. Obama’s chief of staff calls the prosecutor Kim Foxx and all of the sudden these machinations occur and then the case gets dropped.
"That is exactly what the Justice Department is supposed to be involved in, to make sure there is no corruption in state government.
"I hope that President Trump is right and that the FBI is starting an investigation to look into this."
Laura Ingraham: "What’s the potential criminal exposure here, both for Foxx and the state’s attorney office itself?"
John Yoo: "So Foxx could be potentially liable of what is called mail wire fraud of depriving citizens of their honest services, which if she is convicted, this is the standard law that is used to go after corrupt state officials…
"The maximum sentence is 20 years in prison."
According to Fox News, Kim Foxx did not “formally” recuse herself from the Jussie Smollett case.
Foxx is now claiming she used the term "recuse" in a "colloquial" sense rather than a legal sense when she left the case in February, according to a Thursday statement from her office.
The statement from Foxx's office was the latest twist in the saga centering around Smollett, the "Empire" actor whom Foxx's office decided not to prosecute Tuesday in a stunning reversal after Smollett faced a 16-count indictment for allegedly staging an assault against himself in January.
Foxx announced Feb. 19 that she was leaving the case, clarifying later that her decision stemmed from her contact with a relative of Smollett.
But Thursday's statement said Foxx's decision was not based "on any actual conflict of interest," implying that Foxx was concerned about the appearance of a conflict.
“Instead, in an abundance of caution, she informally separated herself from the decision-making over the case and left it to her First Assistant State’s Attorney Joe Magats, a 29-year veteran prosecutor," the statement added.
"Although we used the term ‘recuse’ as it relates to State’s Attorney Foxx’s involvement in this matter, it was a colloquial use of the term rather than in its legal sense.”
Shortly after the alleged attack on Jan. 29, Tina Tchen, a Smollett family friend, reached out to Foxx about concerns relating to leaks from the police department to the media, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Foxx later exchanged text messages with a Smollett relative, which ultimately led to her announced decision to step away from the case.
On Wednesday, Fox News obtained an internal email from Foxx's office that asked assistant state's attorneys to dig for any examples to bolster Foxx’s claim that the dropped charges in the Smollett case weren’t as uncommon or shocking as they seemed.
FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. It is an embarrassment to our Nation!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2019
President Trump also weighed in on the controversy Thursday, announcing that the FBI and Justice Department would review the case.
On Twitter, he called it “an embarrassment to our nation.”