Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx loses top deputy

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Chuck Goudie and the ABC7 I-Team have learned that second-in-command state's attorney Eric Sussman has resigned. (WLS)

Less than a year and a half into the first term of Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, the ABC7 I-Team has learned that her top deputy has resigned.

"First Assistant Eric Sussman will be leaving the Office to pursue outside opportunities," Foxx told staffers on Thursday. "I'm extremely grateful for his service and wish him well on his new endeavors."

Sussman,48, was a successful federal prosecutor in Chicago and his hiring by Foxx as her no. 2 was considered a masterstroke. He began work in the State's Attorney's Office on her swearing-in day, December 1, 2016 and walked into a pressure-cooker of cases as city shootings were skyrocketing.

"I'm moving on to other opportunities," Sussman told the I-Team on Thursday. "I feel very fortunate to have been in the office during an important time of change."

"Eric was instrumental in helping my transition into office and establishing and implementing our priorities," Foxx said in a statement to the I-Team. She listed Sussman's work as including "bail reform, wrongful convictions, and allocating our resources to focus on matters most critical to public safety."

Foxx said she was "extremely grateful for his service, and the State's Attorney's Office has benefited tremendously from his time here."

Long time Cook County prosecutor Joe Magats is being tapped to replace Sussman as first assistant state's attorney. Risa Lanier will take over for Magats as chief of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau. Lanier will be the first African American to hold that position, according to Foxx.

Prior to going to work for Cook County, Sussman handled a high-publicity pro bono case reported by the I-Team: "Indefinite Detention."

It involved a West Side mother who had been locked up in Cook County jail for nearly 800 days while awaiting trial. She became a point of focus for thousands of prisoners who were in county jail, for non-violent or fairly minor offenses, who could not afford bond.

While working in the federal building, Sussman was best known for bringing down an organized crime jewelry theft ring involving former CPD Chief of Detectives William Hanhardt and for convicting Sun-Times owner Conrad Black of embezzlement. He also worked on the Gangster Disciples - Project Safe Neighborhood prosecution.

With Sussman's departure Foxx isn't losing just her right hand crime fighter in the office; he also worked in the courtroom. This week he just finished personally trying the Earl Truss first degree murder case in Markham. Truss was charged with a 2015 deadly shooting in a Harvey convenience store. He shot and killed a teenage boy and critically wounded his mother.

The verdict in Sussman's final case for the county: Truss was found guilty.
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