Joseph Magats, the First Assistant State’s Attorney who decided to drop the 16 felony charges against Jussie Smollett, reportedly never had the legal authority to do so.
According to documents obtained by The Washington Post and others via a public records request, Magats wasn’t legally eligible to act for boss Kim Foxx.
Alan Spellberg, the county’s Criminal Appeals Division Supervisor, sent an email to Chief Deputy State’s Attorney and Chief Ethics Officer April Perry, and senior advisor Robert Foley on February 20, one day after Kim Foxx’s recusal from the case was made public. The email cited legal precedence behind recusals and stated, “My conclusion from all of these authorities is that the [sic] while the State’s Attorney has the complete discretion to recuse herself from any matter, she cannot simply direct someone (even the First Assistant) to act in her stead.”
Foxx informed the media that she recused herself from the case “out of an abundance of caution” because of a conversation she had with one of Smollett’s family members about the investigation. Magats was appointed to head the investigation after Foxx recused herself.
The conversation Foxx had was allegedly with former White House advisor Tina Tchen who reached out to Foxx on behalf of the Empire actor’s family to ask for the FBI to get involved because of concern the Chicago PD was leaking information to the press.
To avoid this conflict of interest, Foxx’s entire office would’ve had to take themselves off the case and appoint a special prosecutor. Instead, Foxx kept it with her office and continued to be involved with the case.
This latest revelation comes just a day after other correspondence, through text messages, revealed that Kim Foxx said Jussie Smollett was a “washed up celeb who lied to cops."
Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images
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