By John Ruberry
Until last Tuesday morning not even a majority of Cook County residents could identify Kim Foxx among a random group of Chicagoans.
Foxx is the Cook County state’s attorney. She’s in charge of the second largest prosecutor’s office in the nation. She’s not an anonymity now.
Last week First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats, who was put in charge of the Jussie Smollett hoax case when Foxx recused herself, represented Illinoisans like myself when the 16 counts of disorderly conduct against the Empire actor were astonishingly dropped.
Oh, except Foxx didn’t recuse herself, only “colloquially” so. If that doesn’t make sense then you are not from Illinois, which is the home of “Illinois math.” Despite a clause in the state constitution requiring balanced budgets, the Land of Lincoln hasn’t had one since the late 1980s.
Where did Foxx come from?
She’s a former Cook County state’s attorney–who worked under the woman she resoundingly defeated in the 2016 Democratic primary, Anita Alvarez.
Disclosure: Alvarez is married to a friend of mine.
A tough as bolts prosecutor who was the lead lawyer in the tragic Girl X case before her election, Alvarez wasn’t adept on the political side of the job, and she was engulfed by the Laquan McDonald murder. McDonald, an unarmed black teen, was shot 16 times by Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014. The video of the shooting wasn’t released until after Mayor Rahm Emanuel was reelected in 2015.
“16 shots and a coverup” has been a common chant by Chicago protesters ever since.
It was Alvarez who faced voters first after the McDonald tape was made public.
The victory by Foxx was surprising only by its margin–Foxx collected nearly 60 percent of the primary vote over the incumbent and a third candidate. In the general election she trounced Republican Christopher E. K. Pfannkuche.
Disclosure: Chris is a former client of mine.
After leaving the employ of Alvarez, Foxx served as chief of staff of Cook County board president Toni Preckwinkle. As “Taxwinkle” is a hardened leftist, that fulfilled the necessary pedigree for Foxx to campaign as a “reform” prosecutor. Foxx, as is Preckwinkle, is an African American. Black Lives Matter activists lined up behind Foxx. A Foxx PAC accepted over $300,000 from George Soros.
Intersectionality carried the day.
Preckwinkle is a candidate for mayor of Chicago–the election is Tuesday. The only reason her ties to Foxx aren’t a bigger issue is that Lori Lightfoot appears to be a shoo-in to become Chicago’s first black female mayor instead of Preckwinkle.
During the ’16 campaign Foxx said she’d ease up on non-violent first-time offenders, presumably of the Bart Simpson variety. But there is no Simpsons episode of Bart creating an expensive hate crime hoax.
The explanations by Foxx about her actions in the Smollett case–colloquially speaking of course–are about as solid as those “balanced” Illinois budgets. On Wednesday she said the hoax case was strong enough to win a conviction. Two days later she wasn’t so sure.
On the home page of the Cook County state’s attorney office is this banner headline, “The SAO has released over six years of felony case data in a groundbreaking step towards transparency and public accountability.”
An exception of course is the Smollett case, which Judge Steven G. Watkins sealed at the request of Smollett’s attorneys, while the assistant to Foxx did nothing.
Nor has Foxx reveled the exact nature of the intervention into the Smollett case by former Michelle Obama chief of staff Tina Tchen and relatives of the formerly accused.
Cook County voters–but not this one–chose an identity-politics leftist as its prosecutor. When you think of the Smollett outrage in those terms, the dropping of the charges against the openly gay black man shouldn’t be surprising.
On Monday the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police will be protesting outside the office of Foxx. I expect that “16 counts and a coverup” to be one of the chants heard.
John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.