Jussie Smollett update: FBI reviewing circumstances of Jussie Smollett's charges being dropped, sources confirm

ByABC7 Team Coverage via WLS logo
Thursday, March 28, 2019
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VIDEOS: Charges dropped against Jussie Smollett

CHICAGO -- The FBI is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of criminal charges against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, two law enforcement officials confirmed.

All 16 felony disorderly conduct counts against Smollett for allegedly lying to police were dropped Tuesday in exchange for community service and forfeiture of his $10,000 bond payment. A hearing Wednesday to expunge his criminal record has been delayed.

The ABC7 I-Team has obtained the CPD investigative file for the Jussie Smollett case. Click below to read the files.

READ: CPD SMOLLETT CASE FILES:

CASE FILES PART 1

CASE FILES PART 2

CPD released those records in response to a Freedom of Information Act request Wednesday morning, not realizing that the records were part of a judge's order from Tuesday to seal all criminal records related to the case, according to CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. Once the department was made aware that the records were part of the judge's order to seal, they stopped the release of any other documents.

RELATED: I-TEAM: What's inside CPD's Jussie Smollett investigative file?

A spokesperson for the FBI's Chicago office declined to comment.

On Wednesday, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx defended her office's decision to drop all charges against Smollett, who was accused of staging a racist and homophobic attack on himself.

"I believe this is a just outcome based on the circumstances," Foxx said.

Foxx said that the practice of dropping charges in exchange for community service and restitution is not uncommon for the Class 4 felonies that Smollett was charged with.

WATCH: Kim Foxx defends office's decision in Jussie Smollett case

Even as Foxx said Smollett received no special treatment, officials in her office were circulating a memo that raised fresh questions.

The email, confirmed by the I-Team, asked Cook County prosecutors for examples of cases like where charges were dropped under circumstances similar to Smollett
The email, confirmed by the I-Team, asked Cook County prosecutors for examples of cases like where charges were dropped under circumstances similar to Smollett's.

The email, confirmed by the I-Team, asked Cook County prosecutors for examples of cases like where charges were dropped under circumstances similar to Smollett's.

"Nobody is in trouble, we are just looking for further examples," the email read, in part.

Foxx also echoed the office's sentiment that the decision to drop charges against Smollett is not an exoneration.

"We believe that the facts were sufficient to charge and try Mr. Smollett for the crimes," Foxx said.

While a court did not find him guilty, she said: "Based on the facts and the evidence that was presented in the charging decision that was made by this office, this office believed that they could prove him guilty."

Foxx had recused herself from the case a week prior to Smollett being charged when it appeared that the actor had gone from victim to suspect. She recused herself after speaking with a "relative" of Smollett, but not Smollett himself. Foxx said it is not uncommon for her to speak to victims and their families.

RELATED: Jussie Smollett update: Texts shed light on why State's Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself

"The family had reached out, I think to me, largely because they didn't have a connection to the police department, asking if there was a way to make sure that the leaks in the case were to a minimum," Foxx said. "I don't want any speculation or concern, I don't even want the appearance, that my involvement with this case, now having talked to a family member, would in any way impede this investigation."

She was connected to the family through Tina Tchen, the former chief of staff to Michelle Obama.

In a statement, Tchen said: "I know members of the Smollett family based on prior work together. Shortly after Mr. Smollett reported he was attacked, as a family friend, I contacted Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, who I also know from prior work together. My sole activity was to put the chief prosecutor in the case in touch with an alleged victim's family who had concerns about how the investigation was being characterized in public."

The prosecutor's office dropped charges against Smollett on Tuesday, stunning the public and blindsiding Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson, who have been outspoken about what they said was overwhelming evidence to prove that Smollett had staged the attack in January in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood.

Emanuel on Smollett: 'This is making fools of all of us'

Emanuel appeared on Good Morning America Wednesday morning to talk about the Smollett case. The Chicago mayor said Smollett, "abused the city of Chicago" and the city, "embraced not only him as an actor, but more importantly the values of being whoever you are, whoever you love, whatever your background is you have a home here. He took that, turned it around and tried to self-promote himself. And the fact is he's walking around with no sense of contrition, no sense of remorse and the fact is also the state's attorney is saying he's actually guilty of this hoax and he's walking around saying, no, I'm innocent."

Smollett attorney: 'He was a victim of a crime'

Smollett's attorney Tina Glandian was also on GMA and responded to the criticism from Mayor Emanuel and Superintendent Johnson.

"I think if they believed the charges they never would have dismissed the case," Glandian said. "It's such a high-profile matter. Everyone has been talking about it. Obviously it's made national headlines....They could have proceeded in a variety of ways. We were ready to move forward. We appeared in court, we pled not guilty. We were ready to fight the charges and they're ones who voluntarily discontinued the matter so I think that speaks volumes."

RELATED: Mayor Emanuel calls decision to drop charges against Smollett 'whitewash of justice'

Glandian said Smollett is now weighing his options and wants to get his career and life back on track.

"He did not ask for any of this," she said. "He was a victim of a crime. This has completely spiraled out of control and become a political event at this point and his goal and focus right now is just getting his life back on track. He has not even started healing from the initial attack because he's been dealing with everything that has happened since then. I don't know. I mean, we're shocked at the mayor and the police superintendent doubling down yesterday when the prosecutor after a dispassionate look at the evidence realized it does not hold up and chose to voluntarily dismiss all counts and expunge his record so we'll weigh our options and see how this develops."

Jussie Smollett update: Charges against 'Empire' actor dropped; 'not an exoneration,' prosecutor says

Smollett spoke out after his court appearance on Tuesday, saying he has been truthful "since day one" and thanking his supporters.

"I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality, and betterment of marginalized people everywhere," Smollett said.

Patricia Brown Holmes, another attorney representing Smollett, issued a statement late Wednesday lambasting the Chicago Police Department for "continuing their smear campaign" against Smollett after the charges were dropped.

"Mr. Smollett, like every citizen, is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law," the statement read in part. "There is no case to try. The case was dismissed. We should all allow Mr. Smollett to move on with his life as a free citizen."

A federal probe by the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service into whether Smollett played a role in sending a threatening letter to himself prior to the allegedly staged attack remains open, despite Tuesday's developments, a law enforcement official told ABC News.

Previous coverage:

Jussie Smollett update: Charges against 'Empire' actor dropped; 'not an exoneration,' prosecutor says

RELATED: Mayor Emanuel calls decision to drop charges against Smollett 'whitewash of justice'

RELATED: Charges dropped against 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett

RELATED: Osundairo brother at center of Jussie Smollett case compete in Chicago boxing match

RELATED: Jussie Smollett update: 'Pain and anger' around 'Empire' in recent weeks, Lee Daniels says

RELATED: FOP accuses Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx of interfering in Jussie Smollett investigation

RELATED: Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to disorderly conduct charges

RELATED: Jussie Smollett update: Texts shed light on why State's Attorney Kim Foxx recused herself

RELATED: Jussie Smollett appears in court for hearing; Cameras allowed for Thursday hearing

RELATED: Jussie Smollett update: Brothers 'taken advantage of' by Smollett, attorney says

RELATED: Jussie Smollett indicted on 16 felony counts by grand jury

RELATED: Brothers reportedly involved in Jussie Smollett alleged hoax release statement expressing 'regret'

RELATED: Jussie Smollett's check to brothers obtained by ABC News

RELATED: Jussie Smollett's character to be removed from 'Empire', producers say

RELATED: What's next for Jussie Smollett? Possible big police bill

RELATED: Jussie Smollett alleged hoax may cast doubt on real hate crimes, advocates fear

RELATED: Jussie Smollett out on bond after being accused of staging attack

RELATED: Jussie Smollett charged with disorderly conduct for filing false police report, prosecutors say

RELATED: Cook Co. State's Attorney Kim Foxx recuses herself from Jussie Smollett investigation

RELATED: Brothers told police Smollett was upset threatening letter didn't get enough attention, staged attack

RELATED: Activist calls for Smollett's arrest, believes actor lied about attack

RELATED: Brothers tell police that Jussie Smollett paid them to stage attack, official says

RELATED: Sources: Police investigating whether Smollett staged attack with help of others

RELATED: Timeline of key moments in alleged attack on Jussie Smollett

RELATED: Jussie Smollett breaks silence on Chicago attack

RELATED: 'Empire' actor's family releases statement on attack, pictures of possible persons of interest released

RELATED: Photos show potential persons of interest in 'Empire' actor attack, police say

RELATED: 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett attacked in Chicago in possible hate crime, police say

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