Kevin Graham, the president of the Chicago police union, sent a letter on March 15 to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) requesting a federal investigation into Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, alleging that Foxx interfered in the police's investigation of "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett.
Graham accuses Foxx — who eventually recused herself from the case — of acting inappropriately when she tried to talk Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson into handing the Smollett investigation over to the FBI. The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
Foxx’s call to Johnson came after an influential supporter of the "Empire" actor reached out to Foxx personally: Tina Tchen, a Chicago attorney and former chief of staff for former First Lady Michelle Obama, according to emails and text messages provided by Foxx to the Chicago Sun-Times in response to a public records request...
...Text messages show Tchen contacted Foxx on Feb. 1, three days after Smollett said he was jumped by two men as he walked home from a sandwich shop near his Streeterville home. Tchen texted Foxx to set up an early morning phone call.
Text messages showed that Foxx told both Tchen and Smollett's relative that she had personally reached out to Johnson and requested that he give the investigation over to the FBI.
According to text messages provided by the Sun-Times, Foxx wrote: "Spoke to the superintendent earlier. He is going to make the ask. Trying to figure out logistics. I’ll keep you posted."
The relative replied: "OMG this would be a huge victory."
Smollett was charged with 16 felonies for filing a false police report after authorities alleged that he staged a hate crime against himself because he was angry that the tens of thousands of dollars that he earned per episode of "Empire" was not enough.
NBC News notes that a spokesperson from her office said at the time: "Out of an abundance of caution, the decision to recuse herself was made to address potential questions of impartiality based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case."
"Such conduct merits a review by your office," Graham said in his letter. "Private attorneys are not allowed to interfere with ongoing police investigations, particularly at the request of private individuals associated with subjects being investigated by the police, in this case, a subject later determined to be the offender, not the victim."
"According to the media reports on public documents, one of Smollett’s relatives was communicating with Ms. Foxx about her request to transfer the case to the FBI," Graham continued. "As you probably also know, Ms. Foxx ultimately recused herself from this case as a prosecutor based on those communications with relatives of Jussie Smollett."
"That recusal is wholly insufficient," Graham added. "In order for Ms. Foxx to properly charge and try this case, her entire office should have recused itself and a special prosecutor been appointed."
Smollett has repeatedly claimed that the attack was real. His attorney went on CNN earlier this month and claimed that Smollett, who is openly gay, was the victim of a "media gang bang" of "unprecedented proportions."