More ripples in state attorney's office follow Jussie Smollett case

As embattled Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx continues to stand by her office’s decision to suddenly drop 16 felony charges against actor Jussie Smollett, three ranking staffers have now parted with Foxx including Chief Ethics Officer April Perry; the director of the conviction integrity unit, Mark Rotart; and the director of external affairs, Kiera Ellis. Perry and Ellis have not given exact reasons for their resignation. Rotart tells Fox News his departure was planned months ago.

Cook County Inspector General, Patrick Blanchard, is reviewing Kim Foxx’s office’s decisions during the Smollett case. Two separate petitions have been filed in Cook County for a special prosecutor to investigate the case, and President Trump says he’s asked for a federal review. And now, another criminal case that Foxx’s office is prosecuting raises new questions about Foxx’s personal and professional relationship with another alleged Chicago victim that her office might not be prosecuting to the fullest extent.

At an April 6 rally for Foxx lead by The Rev. Jesse Jackson at his Rainbow Push headquarters on the south side of Chicago, Foxx posed for at least one picture and stood alongside known Chicago activist Jedidiah Brown.

Foxx’s office is currently prosecuting 32-year-old Brown for allegedly assaulting Chicago police officers David Alvarez and Jeffrey Shafer while Brown resisted arrest in July 2018.

STATE'S ATTORNEY KIM FOXX CALLS JUSSIE SMOLLETT ‘WASHED UP CELEB WHO LIED TO COPS’ IN TEXT MESSAGE: REPORT

Following the April event at Rainbow Push, Brown posted this picture with Foxx to Facebook with the caption "Let the record reflect, I stand with Kim Foxx. Blue Klux Klan we aren't going without a fight you'll never forget!"

Attorney James McKay, who represents the two police officers who Brown allegedly assaulted, tells Fox News the picture of Brown and Foxx just looks bad.

“This is not right. The guy’s got a criminal case pending. A prosecutor has the duty to avoid the slightest appearance of impropriety. Not be with him. Period. It’s just improper,” McKay told Fox News.

McKay filed a petition in Cook County criminal court this week requesting that Foxx’s office be removed from the Brown case and a special prosecutor assigned. The president judge could rule on the petition as early as Tuesday.

McKay’s petition indicates that on July 19, 2018, Brown and a “band of protesters” did not comply with Chicago police officers’ requests to limit a demonstration they organized in the city to areas that would not impede with the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic. Police say they warned Brown and his group multiple times not to interfere with traffic. The warnings were audio recorded and videotaped, according to McKay’s petition.

Police allege Brown was aggressive, defiant and resistant to police commands to march peacefully, resulting in his arrest in which Brown kicked and punched the police officers. McKay tells Fox News he has obtained an online video that shows Brown preparing to potentially physically engage with police by removing his jewelry on his way to the protest.

McKay says after Brown’s arrest, as detectives investigated, Chicago police held Brown on felony charges of aggravated battery against two on-duty police officers but high ranking members of Foxx’s staff showed up and rejected the felony charges police recommended — despite what McKay says is abundant amount supporting video evidence for felony charges. Brown’s attorney, Michael Oppenheimer, acknowledges to Fox News there is some type of videos that exist. Their exact content is not clear.

Brown was charged with two counts of lesser misdemeanor battery, one count resisting arrest and one count of obstruction of traffic, McKay tells Fox News. Brown’s assault charges are pending in Cook County criminal court.

Oppenheimer tells Fox News his client is innocent of the charges. “All the allegations in the criminal complaint, they are unfounded,” Oppenheimer said.

Oppenheimer says he can’t comment on direct details of the case but he is taking it to trial and says taking a picture with Foxx is not a conflict of interest. “I think having a photograph together with the State’s Attorney, lots of people do, it’s really not a conflict of interest. Kim Foxx takes photos with lots of people. That’s up for the judge to decide.”

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It appears Brown and Foxx’s relationship might go beyond taking a picture and appearing together at Foxx’s April rally. McKay writes in his complaint that Brown and Foxx had a working relationship during Foxx’s campaign for state’s attorney in 2015. Fox News cannot confirm the exact relationship between the Brown and Foxx, however Brown is quoted in this Al Jazeera article saying “we worked hard to get Kim Foxx elected,” and Brown is seen in this photograph just days before the Kim Foxx event facing off with police at a police protest against Kim Foxx outside of her downtown office.

Fox News made multiple requests to Kim Foxx’s office for comment or guidance but emails and phone calls were not returned.