The Cook County State Attorney’s office is under fire by several top officials in Chicago, after news broke of the decision by prosecutors to drop criminal charges against Jussie Smollett.
At a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel said the decision by the state attorney’s office was a “whitewash of justice.” He continued, “A grand jury could not have been clearer.”
Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson also criticized the decision, saying, “Do I think justice was served? No. I stand behind the detectives’ investigation.”
Here’s what you need to know about who works at the Cook County State Attorney’s office, and who was involved in the decision to drop charges against Smollett.
Kim Foxx Is the State Attorney for Cook County
Kim Foxx is Cook County’s State Attorney, and therefore the highest level of authority in the office. Her role in the Smollett case has been controversial, as she tried to convince Chicago police to turn over the Smollett case to the FBI, according to Chicago newspapers. After news broke of that move, Foxx recused herself from the Smollett case in February.
Per The Chicago Sun-Times, Foxx did this after Michelle Obama’s former Chief of Staff, Tina Tchen, reached out to Foxx in support of Smollett.
Joseph Magats Is the First Assistant to the State’s Attorney
Joseph Magats is the First Assistant to the State’s Attorney, and the prosecutor who decided to drop all of the criminal charges against Smollett, after Foxx recused herself from the case. To The Chicago Sun-Times, Magats said that the decision did not mean that Smollett unequivocally is free of the suspicion that he did what prosecutors have alleged that he might have done, nor did it mean that he is a victim of a crime.
He clarified to the publication,
“We stand behind the CPD investigation done in this case, we stand behind the approval of charges in this case. They did a fantastic job. The fact there was an alternative disposition in this case is not and should not be viewed as some kind of admission there was something wrong with the case, or something wrong with the investigation that the Chicago Police did.”
Magats was appointed as the new chief of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau in 2017, according to a press release from the Cook County State Attorney’s office.
Within the press release, Foxx said, “Joe’s been in the office for 25 years. … I will be his fifth state’s attorney. And through it all, Joe has maintained a level of credibility and work ethic and expertise that his colleagues, and those who come up under him, can be inspired by his work ethic.”
Tandra Simonton Is the Chief Communications Officer for the Cook County Office
Tandra Simonton is the Chief Communications Officer for the Cook County State Attorney’s Office. Simonton was the one who issued the press release confirming that Magats was dropping the criminal case against Smolletts:
“After reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollett’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the city of Chicago, we believe this outcome is just disposition and appropriate resolution to the case.”