The Chicago police union’s president alleges that the county’s top prosecutor interfered with the investigation of Empire actor Jussie Smollett before recusing herself and wants the Justice Department to determine if she broke any laws.
WLS-TV in Chicago reports that Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham wrote the Justice Department following reports that Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx asked Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to let the FBI investigate Smollett’s allegations that he was attacked by two masked men after the former chief of staff to former first lady Michelle Obama informed Foxx that Smollett’s family had concerns about the probe.
The police kept the investigation and Foxx recused herself.
Her office charged Smollett with lying to police.
Foxx’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last Thursday, Smollett pleaded not guilty to charges accusing him of lying to the police about being the victim of a racist and homophobic attack in downtown Chicago a few weeks ago.
Lawyer Tina Glandian entered the plea on behalf of the 36-year-old actor during a hearing in Cook County Circuit Court after Judge Steven Watkins was assigned to oversee the case, including the trial.
Watkins granted Smollett’s request to be allowed to meet with lawyers in New York and California, but said the actor must give the court at least 48 hours’ prior notice. He scheduled the next hearing for April 17.
Smollett, who left the courthouse without speaking to reporters, is charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct.
Prosecutors allege that Smollett, who is black and gay and plays the gay character Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox TV show, hired two friends to help him stage the attack on him in downtown Chicago early on the morning of Jan. 29. They say Smollett was unhappy about his salary and wanted to drum up publicity to help his career.
Smollett has denied that he staged the attack and maintains he is innocent. His lawyers have called the charges against him “prosecutorial overkill.”
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