Foxx compared Smollett's case to her office's pending indictments against R&B singer R. Kelly in text messages to Joseph Magats, her top assistant, on March 8. "On a case eligible for deferred prosecution I think it's indicative of something we should be looking at generally", Foxx wrote.
"Pedophile with 4 victims 10 counts".
"It's not who we want to be", she concludes.
There was no smoking gun but the documents showed Foxx was kept in the loop on - and commented to her staff about - a case in which she publicly claimed to have recused herself.
USA Today calls out Magats' reply, reporting Magats texted that he "agreed" and the office would take a "hard look at how we charge the cases and get it to something that covers what needs to be covered without being excessive and ultimately pointless". The decision to drop charges sparked outrage, and was followed by a civil suit by the city of Chicago against Smollett seeking to force the actor to reimburse the city for police department overtime expenses. The office released 178 pages of text messages and 3,655 pages of emails connected to the case, including communication among staffers and some of their interactions with the media. The texts were unearthed via Freedom of Information Act request.
"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 a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case", the Cook County State's Attorney's office stated in an email at the time.
Other texts showed prosecutor were blindsided by the response they got following their decision to drop the charges.
Foxx and Magats continued to discuss the case, including the news that embattled lawyer Michael Avenatti wanted to join the defense. In an op-ed in the Tribune, she backed off her office's initial stance that the case was strong, writing that they were uncertain of a conviction, but she offered no specifics. Lanier wrote in a March 26 text to Magats.
However, Johnson and Mayor Rahm Emanuel held a news conference that morning slamming the decision - "a whitewash of justice", the mayor said.
In a written statement released Tuesday night, Foxx said she only wanted to ensure that the office's charging practices were consistent across different cases.
Smollett found himself at the center of an global media firestorm after he reported being the victim of a January 29 attack by two people who shouted slurs, hit him and wrapped a noose around his neck.
Cook County's Inspector General Patrick Blanchard has begun an investigation into how Foxx's office handled the case.