A Cook County judge recently called out embattled State Attorney Kim Foxx for upholding a double standard by prosecuting a woman for filing a false police report -- but dropping similar charges against embattled "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett.
Foxx has faced intense criticism over her office's decision to drop a 16-count indictment against Smollett, just weeks after bringing the charges against the high-profile TV star. Foxx's deal with Smollett, which did not require him to admit guilt, drew ire from the public, the city's top cop and the former mayor who called it a "whitewash of justice."
Cook County Judge Marc Martin, who was presiding over an unrelated case, chastised Foxx and her office for creating a situation where anyone charged with filing a false report would expect the same leniency her office afforded Smollett.
Candace Clark, 21, is facing one felony count of making a false report. Prosecutors accused her of giving a friend access to her bank account and then telling authorities the money had been stolen. She denies the charges and claims she's the victim of Foxx's double standard -- something the judge weighed in on.
“Well, Ms. Clark is not a movie star, she doesn’t have a high-price lawyer, although, her lawyer’s very good. And this smells, big time," Martin said to prosecutors during a recent hearing, Fox 32 reported. "I didn't create this mess, your office created this mess. And your explanation is unsatisfactory to this court. She's being treated differently."
The judge continued, “There’s no publicity on this case. She doesn’t have Mark Geragos as her lawyer or Ron Safer or Judge Brown. It’s not right. And (if) I proceed in this matter, you’re just digging yourselves further in a hole. (If the) press gets a hold of this, it’ll be in a newspaper. Why is Ms. Clark being treated differently than Mr. Smollett?”
Foxx recused herself from the Smollett case in February but continued to oversee the investigation through text messages with her assistant Joseph Magats.
The text messages revealed Foxx called Smollett a "washed up celeb who lied to cops." They also show she cautioned Magats about throwing the book at Smollett.
“Sooo……I’m recused, but when people accuse us of overcharging cases…16 counts on a class 4 becomes exhibit A,” Foxx wrote to Magats on March 8.
“Pedophile with 4 victims 10 counts. Washed up celeb who lied to cops, 16. On a case eligible for deferred prosecution I think it’s indicative of something we should be looking at generally. Just because we can charge something doesn’t mean we should,” she added, referring to the case of R&B singer R. Kelly, who was indicted on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in connection with four women, three of whom were underage.
President Trump said last month he asked for a federal review of Foxx's decision to drop the charges against Smollett. He also called the actor "an absolute embarrassment to our country."
The Smollett case garnered national attention and threatened to tear Chicago apart. It pit the police department and mayor against prosecutors and underscored the idea that wealthy people are somehow above the law.
Smollett told police he was attacked on Jan. 29 around 2 a.m. as he was returning home from a sandwich shop in Chicago. He said two masked men shouted racial and anti-gay slurs, poured bleach on him, beat him and tied a rope around his neck. He claimed they shouted, “This is MAGA country” — a reference to President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
After an intense investigation, police said Smollett staged the entire incident to drum up publicity for his career.
Smollett has strongly denied the accusations.