President Trump Says FBI and Justice Department Will Investigate ‘Outrageous’ Outcome of Jussie Smollett Case

President Donald Trump tweeted early Thursday that the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice would review the Jussie Smollett case, calling it “outrageous” and “an embarrassment to our Nation!”

Trump did not say exactly what the agencies would look into, but the Fraternal Order of Police and others have been calling for a federal investigation into State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s handling of the case involving the “Empire” actor.

Smollett initially said he was attacked in Streeterville by two men yelling racist and homophobic slurs, but police said he staged the assault to boost his career.

During the police investigation, Foxx reached out to a relative of Smollett concerned about leaks, and then contacted Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. Weeks later, Foxx said she recused herself from the case not long before Smollett was charged with filing a false police report.

Smollett was later indicted on 16 counts of disorderly conduct on charges he staged the attack, but in a sudden reversal Tuesday, prosecutors dropped all the charges at an unannounced court hearing. Foxx insisted she had no role in the dismissal but defended the move, saying her office often handles cases in a similar fashion for defendants with nonviolent backgrounds — an assertion that a number of Chicago attorneys contacted by the Tribune disputed.

Foxx told the Tribune on Wednesday she would never have gotten involved if she knew Smollett would later be deemed a suspect and not a victim. “I’ve never had a victim that turned into a suspect,” she said. “In hindsight as we see (how) all of it has played out, you know, is there regret that I engaged with the family member? Absolutely.”

The FBI has already been looking into part of the Smollett case: a threatening letter the actor said he got a week before the attack. Johnson has said the letter is as phony as the attack, which he said Smollett staged when the letter got no publicity. But federal officials have yet to say anything publicly about the letter or possible charges.

The FBI typically has jurisdiction over crimes involving the U.S. Postal Service. Representatives of the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service declined to comment Wednesday.

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SOURCE: Megan Crepeau, Madeline Buckley
Chicago Tribune