Foxx retreats from political accusations against special prosecutor after 'Empire' actor re-indicted

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A day after a six-count grand jury indictment was handed up against former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett for allegedly lying to authorities, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx is backing away from accusations they may be politically-motivated.

Smollett was re-indicted for allegedly lying about an attack he said took place in Streeterville in January of last year

Smollett claimed he had been attacked in by two men who yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him. Police said Smollett staged the attack on himself because he was unhappy with his salary on the show "Empire."

WATCH: Timeline of Events in Jussie Smollett case
EMBED More News Videos

"Empire" actor and R&B singer Jussie Smollett told Chicago police in January that two men physically attacked him and yelled racial and homophobic slurs. There have been dozens of twists and turns since then.

All 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct were dropped last February by Foxx's office.

Special Prosecutor Dan Webb was then appointed in August to examine that decision, resulting in the indictment against Smollett Tuesday.

Foxx, already under fire for her handling of the case, is now facing a new round of criticism for accusing Webb of being politically motivated in the timing of the indictment.

"We are continuing to avail ourselves to a review of how this case was handled," Foxx said. "As I said from the very beginning, we welcome the non-political review and that is ongoing."

"They're doing the job she didn't do. So for her to say this was in any way intended to affect her in a negative way is on beyond the pale," Gloria Schmidt Rodriguez, attorney for the Osundairo brothers, who said they were paid to stage the attack on Smollett.

She said for her client, the charges alone are not a vindication.

"They just want the public to know what really happened, they want the public to know what their role in all of this was, and they want the public to heal," said Schmidt Rodriguez.

EMBED More News Videos

A day after a six-count grand jury indictment was handed up against former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett for lying to authorities, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx spoke abou

Smollett's attorney echoing that sentiment, saying in a statement in part, "After more than five months of investigation, the Office of the Special Prosecutor has not found any evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever related to the dismissal of the charges against Mr. Smollett. Rather, the charges were appropriately dismissed the first time because they were not supported by the evidence. The attempt to re-prosecute Mr. Smollett one year later on the eve of the Cook County State's Attorney election is clearly all about politics not justice."

But Wednesday Foxx side-stepped any criticism of Webb.

"You know, I'm not going to get into that, we have an election that's coming up in the next five weeks, I certainly would hope that the decision that was made based on the facts, the evidence and the law," she said.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who like Webb is a former federal prosecutor, defended his decision to charge Smollett with lying to police, but said she did not want to wade into the politics or timing of it all.

"I think the evidence before was incredibly compelling and I haven't seen the specifics of the indictment, meaning reading it, but the evidence was the evidence so it's not a surprise to me that the special prosecutor reached the same conclusions as the grand jury had previously reached," the mayor said.

One expert believes Foxx will weather the storm come Election Day.

"She was on her way to winning the primary election pretty easily," said Dick Simpson, UIC professor of political science. "It's not clear this will defeat her, it will certain lower her margin of support.

Foxx said her office is cooperating with Webb's ongoing investigation; he is still trying to determine if there was any wrongdoing by Foxx or anyone in her office. Webb declined to comment Wednesday.

Foxx's opponent in the March 17 primary, Bill Conway, has been hammering the airways for weeks with an ad criticizing Foxx for giving Smollett preferential treatment compared to his client, charged with a similar crime.

Another opponent, Donna More, issued a statement saying, "This can no longer be considered just an error in judgment or a disappointing lack of transparency. There may be significant wrongdoing on the part of the State's Attorney."

Smollett is scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment on February 24.


Jussie Smollett, former 'Empire' actor, indicted again in connection with alleged Chicago attack
City seeks to have Smollett counterclaim dismissed
Jussie Smollett files counterclaim against city saying prosecution was 'malicious'
Jussie Smollett case: Judge denies motion to dismiss Chicago lawsuit against 'Empire' actor
Judge in Smollett case rules to keep Dan Webb as special prosecutor after concerns of possible conflict of interest
Jussie Smollett case: Documents show special prosecutor Dan Webb made donation to Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx
Jussie Smollett case: Documents show special prosecutor Dan Webb made donation to Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx
Jussie Smollett case: PR firm says 'every iota' of 'Empire' actor's claim true; police differ
Dan Webb appointed special prosecutor in 'Empire' actor's case
Jussie Smollett case: Hearing held on Chicago's lawsuit against 'Empire' actor

'Empire' filming in Chicago near Jussie Smollett alleged attack site
Jussie Smollett: Judge dismisses motions by 'Empire' actor's attorneys
Jussie Smollett: Attorneys decline special prosecutor role in actor's case, report says
'Empire' actor's attorneys argue against special prosecutor, want judge replaced
Jussie Smollett's attorneys argue for Chicago lawsuit to be moved to federal court
Chicago police release investigative files, video of alleged staged attack on 'Empire' actor
Judge orders special prosecutor to review Jussie Smollett case
911 calls released of Jussie Smollett reporting alleged attack
Lee Daniels says Jussie Smollett not returning for final season of 'Empire'
Cook Co. State's Attorney's Office releases documents in Jussie Smollett case
Chicago police release 400 pages of Jussie Smollett case files
Judge rules to unseal records in Jussie Smollett case
'Empire' will go 1 more season, Smollett's future is unclear
Judge asked to recuse himself from petition to appoint special prosecutor in Jussie Smollett case
Jussie Smollett's contract extended, no plans for character to return to 'Empire'
Osundairo brothers file defamation lawsuit against Jussie Smollett's attorneys
Kim Foxx receives death threats after Jussie Smollett charges dropped
Kim Foxx's chief spokesperson resigns from State's Attorney's Office
2 top staffers leaving Kim Foxx's State's Attorney's Office
Jussie Smollett update: Kim Foxx's texts and emails raise more questions about recusal
Kim Foxx texts show she thought number of Jussie Smollett charges 'excessive'
Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx asks for review of how Jussie Smollett case was handled
Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx asks for review of how Jussie Smollett case was handled
City sues Jussie Smollett for cost of investigating alleged staged attack
Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx lets Derrion Albert killer off the hook
Kim Foxx says 'this is personal' about calls for her to resign
Jussie Smollett attorney responds to Chicago's civil suit threat
Taraji P. Henson weighs in on 'Empire' co-star Jussie Smollett's case
Chicago to file civil suit against 'Empire' actor for not paying $130K cost of police investigation
In wake of Jussie Smollett, suburban police chiefs take no confidence stance against State's Attorney Kim Foxx
Jussie Smollett case leads to protests for, against Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx
Chris Rock rips an absent Jussie Smollett at the NAACP Image Awards

Thousands referred for alternative prosecution by Cook County prosecutors haven't completed process
Jussie Smollett's surprise deal raises new questions
City of Chicago asks Jussie Smollett to pay for $130,000 cost of investigation
FBI reviewing circumstances of Jussie Smollett's charges being dropped, sources confirm
What's inside the CPD Jussie Smollett investigative file?
Mayor Emanuel calls decision to drop charges against Smollett 'whitewash of justice'
Charges dropped against 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett
Osundairo brother at center of Jussie Smollett case compete in Chicago boxing match
Jussie Smollett update: 'Pain and anger' around 'Empire' in recent weeks, Lee Daniels says
FOP accuses Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx of interfering in Jussie Smollett investigation
Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to disorderly conduct charges
Jussie Smollett update: Texts shed light on why State's Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself
Jussie Smollett appears in court for hearing; Cameras allowed for Thursday hearing
Jussie Smollett update: Brothers 'taken advantage of' by Smollett, attorney says
Jussie Smollett indicted on 16 felony counts by grand jury
Brothers reportedly involved in Jussie Smollett alleged hoax release statement expressing 'regret'
Jussie Smollett's check to brothers obtained by ABC News
Jussie Smollett's character to be removed from 'Empire', producers say
What's next for Jussie Smollett? Possible big police bill
Jussie Smollett alleged hoax may cast doubt on real hate crimes, advocates fear
Jussie Smollett out on bond after being accused of staging attack
Jussie Smollett charged with disorderly conduct for filing false police report, prosecutors say
Cook Co. State's Attorney Kim Foxx recuses herself from Jussie Smollett investigation
Brothers told police Smollett was upset threatening letter didn't get enough attention, staged attack
Activist calls for Smollett's arrest, believes actor lied about attack
Brothers tell police that Jussie Smollett paid them to stage attack, official says
Sources: Police investigating whether Smollett staged attack with help of others
Timeline of key moments in alleged attack on Jussie Smollett
Jussie Smollett breaks silence on Chicago attack
'Empire' actor's family releases statement on attack, pictures of possible persons of interest released
Photos show potential persons of interest in 'Empire' actor attack, police say
'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett attacked in Chicago in possible hate crime, police say
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.