Lightfoot, Preckwinkle Puzzled Over Quick End To Smollett Case

Bob Roberts
March 26, 2019 - 7:24 pm

Lori Lightfoot, left; Toni Preckwinkle (Associated Press)


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) – The decision by Cook County prosecutors to drop charges against actor-musician Jussie Smollett was topic number one in the latest mayoral debate, at Channel 32 Tuesday, and with reporters afterward.

In agreeing to drop the charges, prosecutors cited community service Smollett has performed while in Chicago and his agreement to forfeit the $10,000 in cash that he posted to cover his $100,000 bond on felony disorderly conduct charges of filing a falsified report with police, alleging a homophobic beating Jan. 29.


Since then, police have said that Smollett staged the attack in an attempt to get a raise for his work on the series "Empire," and paid two brothers who were acquaintances of his $3,500 to carry it out.  

Whereas outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Eddie Johnson responded with anger, the mayoral candidates voiced mainly questions.       

Lori Lightfoot said Chicagoans deserve answers, adding that the speed with which the case moved and the decision to immediately seal the court file is "a bit unusual."       

"There's a lot more that needs to be explained about this," said Lightfoot, a former Cook County assistant state's attorney who once worked at the Criminal Courts Building.        

She said questions that go unanswered can be filled by hearsay, innuendo and other falsehoods.     

Preckwinkle seemed surprised that the case file was sealed. Beyond that, she steadfastly stuck to the same three-sentence reaction.   

"I'm not a lawyer. I'm not the state's attorney. And so I look forward to more explanation from the state's attorney," she said several times during the debate and no fewer than seven times in a session with reporters afterward.    

Lightfoot said she continues to have faith in State's Attorney Kim Foxx, who recused herself in the case, putting First Asst. Joseph Magatz in chare of the case.