Chicago City Wire

Chicago City Wire

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Foxx's reelection bid faces obstacles after judge appoints special prosecutor to Smollett case

Local Government

By Adam Eisenberg | Jul 24, 2019

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's reelection bid faces an uphill battle following the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate her office's handling of the Jussie Smollett case.

Judge Michael Toomin issued a ruling in June criticizing Foxx's decision to recuse herself from the case and questioning her judgment in appointing aide Joe Magats to handle the case. Toomin noted that the problems with the case's handling merit the appointment of a special prosecutor. He also scolded Foxx for not choosing to appoint a special prosecutor when she initially recused herself.

"[The] unprecedented irregularities identified in this case warrant the appointment of an independent counsel to restore the public's confidence in the criminal justice system," Toomin wrote is his decision.

Jussie Smollett

The fallout related to the Smollett case has cast a shadow over Foxx's reelection bid.

Democratic committeeman for the 47th Ward Paul Rosenfeld acknowledged to the Chicago Sun-Times that Foxx's handling of the Smollett case does it make harder for Democrats to present what he called Foxx's "spectacular" record on criminal justice reform. Rosenfeld spoke positively of Foxx's work outside of the Smollett case and told the Sun-Times, "I think she's done a good job."

Opponents, meanwhile, see an opportunity to leverage the situation into a strong electoral challenge.

"I would hope that the voters see that she has undermined the responsibilities of being a prosecutor in the name of pushing a strong, progressive, anti-police agenda," Martin Prieb of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police told Chicago City Wire. "It is our hope that the DOJ is investigating her for the Smollett case and the suspicious exonerations."

While no Republican candidate has announced their intention to run as of yet, state Republican Chairman Tim Schneider told the Sun-Times last month that the GOP "certainly will run someone against her."

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