UPDATED 9:19 AM PT — Friday, May 31, 2019
Released documents in the controversial Jussie Smollett case revealed prosecutors told Chicago Police about a deal being made a month before charges against the “Empire” actor were publicly dropped.
Lawyers representing media pushed the Cook County courts to reverse the decision to seal Smollett’s records to see what went on behind the scenes during the investigation. A judge approved the request to unseal the records this week, opening 460 pages of documents to the public.
“We applaud that order. This is about transparency and trust in the system, and we believe the public has a right to know what he government did here and why.”
— Natalie Spears, media attorney
According to lawyers involved with unsealing the documents, Smollett’s files are simply a stepping stone to finding the truth behind state attorney Kim Foxx dropping the charges. Foxx wrote an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times stating she welcomed an investigation of her office. However, she has been fighting third-party investigation attempts from a retired Illinois Court of Appeals judge.
“Now the court file is open, and that’s a good first step, but more remains to be done because it’s not the court file that’s all important. It’s Ms. Foxx’s file and the decision making process into how this case was handled.” — Sheila O’Brien, retired judge
Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Chicago Police, gave a statement, saying detectives did not originally pass the information on as they assumed the deal included Smollett admitting fault. The city of Chicago is suing Smollett for the money spent investigating what ended up being a false report by the “Empire” star.