Kim Foxx has received 'racially charged' threats over Jussie Smollett case

In March, Chicago prosecutors announced they were dismissing 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct against the "Empire" actor.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Minyvonne Burke and Associated Press

Cook County's top prosecutor, Kim Foxx, has received a series of "racially charged" threats in the wake of her office abruptly dropping charges against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett.

"We can confirm that the State’s Attorney has received threats to her personal safety and security, a number of which have contained racially charged language," a spokesperson for prosecutor's office said.

The threats came in the form of emails and phone calls, but the spokesperson declined to elaborate on the specific nature of them.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, investigators with the state's attorney's office's Investigations Bureau and Executive Protection Unit has been alerted to the threats.

Smollett, 36, was indicted in March on 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct after the Chicago Police Department said he orchestrated an alleged hate crime on himself in January because he was unhappy with his salary on the show "Empire."

Smollett, who is black and gay, had told police that on January 29 that two masked men hurled racial and homophobic slurs before beating him, tying a noose around his neck and pouring what he said was bleach on him.

Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

Just weeks after the indictment, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office announced that it was dismissing the charges, sparking public fury.

Actor Jussie Smollett makes a court appearance at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 14, 2019.E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune / Reuters file

Foxx recused herself from the Smollett case in February due to "potential questions of impartiality based upon familiarity with potential witnesses," a spokesperson for her office told NBC News in a statement on Feb. 19.

However, in a series of text messages between Foxx and her staff she expressed concern that her office was overcharging the actor.

“Just because we can charge something doesn’t mean we should,” read a March 8 message to her top deputy. “It’s not who we want to be.”

Almost immediately after Foxx's office dismissed the charges, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel blasted prosecutors saying it was a "whitewash of justice."

"From top to bottom, this is not on the level," he said.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson accused Smollett and his team of brokering "a deal to circumvent the judicial system."

One of Foxx's sharpest critics has been Chicago Police Union President, Kevin Graham, who called on her to step down and said the handling of the Smollett case is yet another example of her office letting people off too lightly.

Part of Foxx's efforts reform Chicago criminal justice system is to not overcharge suspects for nonviolent crimes and, whenever possible, offer an alternative to taking them to court.

“We need to have a prosecutor who is going to charge people when they commit a crime,” Graham said.

In a letter to Foxx earlier this month, the North Suburban Association of Chiefs of Police president said Foxx's reform agenda appears to "decriminalize or ignore" nonviolent crimes.

Foxx said she is aware of the uproar and asked the Cook County Office of the Independent Inspector General to review how her office handled the Smollett case. Foxx said in a press release on Friday that she will not comment on the case until the review is complete.