News & Politics

Liz Warren Endorsed the Prosecutor Whose Office Dropped the First Jussie Smollett Charges

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

On Tuesday, former Empire actor Jussie Smollett was indicted on six new charges of disorderly conduct for filing false reports to police. If you’re feeling a strong déjà vu, you’re not alone. Smollett was originally indicted on 16 felony counts for lying to police after claiming that white attackers wearing MAGA hats put a noose and bleach on him in an attack on one of the coldest nights of the year, but the charges were dropped mysteriously. State’s Attorney Kim Foxx meddled in the case after publicly recusing herself from it, and her deputy dropped the charges. The new indictment comes six months after a special prosecutor took up the case.

Two weeks before the new indictment, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-1/1024th of a Plan) endorsed Foxx for re-election.

“When Cook County first elected Kim Foxx to the State’s Attorney office, it not only gained a seasoned advocate but a champion invested in rethinking the county’s approach to criminal justice reform,” Warren said in a statement, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. “Kim is an effective public servant who leads with compassion, and I’m confident that when reelected, Kim Foxx will continue to bring those qualities to the office.”

Foxx said she was “honored” to get Warren’s endorsement. “We know our working communities stand to lose the most when exposed to a broken criminal justice system,” she said in a statement. “Our reform on bond, conviction integrity and cannabis have undoubtedly helped bring more equitable justice to these communities. Having Sen. Warren’s endorsement is a testament to the work we’ve only just started on here in Cook County.”

Both Republicans and Democrats support criminal justice reform, but Foxx represents a rather corrupt version of it. The malfeasance goes far beyond Smollett, according to Martin Prieb, second vice president at the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). “The whole country’s upset about this fake crime. But the real horror of what’s going on in Chicago goes unreported,” he told PJ Media last May.

“Here’s the thing about the Foxx administration. Here’s the story that’s getting buried. Kimberly Foxx was supported heavily in her campaign by several law firms that make their living off of suing the police. She won, turns around, and lets all their clients out of prison to file million-dollar lawsuits,” he charged.

Prieb drew attention to Foxx’s record of reversing felony convictions for confessed murderers and rapists. For instance, Arturo DeLeon-Reyes and Gabriel Solache confessed to stabbing Mariano and Jacinta Soto, murdering them and kidnapping their children. Yet Solache and DeLeon-Reyes claimed that they were victims of police misconduct, even though they confessed to the murders. The two were later released after Foxx’s office granted immunity to a police officer who testified against the department.

Foxx also has a history of animus against police. One of Smollett’s attorneys, Patricia Brown Holmes, prosecuted three Chicago police officers for an alleged conspiracy against 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Foxx relentlessly attacked her predecessor, Anita Alvarez, for failing to charge the police involved, even though the officers were later acquitted. At a press conference Foxx’s hoffice hosted following the dropping of the original Smollett charges, a former Black Panther referred to the Chicago PD as the “Blue Klux Klan.”

While the Jussie Smollett case did not result in any injuries or deaths, and Foxx’s office deals with more important matters, questions about the case still rightly dog the state’s attorney. Her involvement in the case revealed extremely bad judgment if not political corruption. She has continued to dodge questions about Smollett, even as she runs for re-election.

This hate crime hoax gave the people of Chicago — and Trump supporters across the country — a bad name. Media outlets devoted wall-to-wall coverage of the supposedly victimized black gay actor, ignoring clear signs that this was a hoax — such as Smollett’s desire not to remove the noose supposedly foisted around his neck by MAGA rednecks. The “white” attackers ended up being two Nigerian brothers whom Smollett paid to orchestrate the hoax. Smollett’s attacks against Trump suggest that he had an ax to grind in this hate crime hoax.

As police devoted significant resources to this hate crime investigation, 18 people died. Lying to the police is not harmless — it ties up vital safety resources, making it harder for law enforcement to keep the peace and to hold murders accountable.

Foxx’s unwillingness to prosecute a notorious hate crime hoax with one ounce of the vigor she brings to trumped-up cases against police reveals a terrifying and reckless bias. This act should disqualify her in the minds of voters, but Elizabeth Warren seems not to care. Instead, Warren decided to go out of her way to endorse a Cook County state’s attorney, days before the Iowa caucuses.

This endorsement was particularly peculiar given Warren’s hardline stance against “disinformation.” She has condemned Facebook for agreeing to run political ads even if Warren herself considers the ads to contain lies. The day after endorsing Kim Foxx, Warren tweeted out a pledge saying, “I will not knowingly use or spread disinformation to benefit my own candidacy or damage others. And I will fight disinformation aimed at my campaign, my opponents, and voters.” Does that include disinformation against Trump supporters falsely accused in hate crime hoaxes?

The Massachusetts senator has shown herself to be a shameless panderer, going so far as to promise one random “young trans person” effective veto power over who she would appoint as secretary of Education. Her obnoxious focus on transgender pronouns has troubled members of her own campaign staff.

Indeed, there is a possibility Warren didn’t endorse Foxx despite the Smollet controversy, but because of it.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.