Cook County States Attorney Kim Foxx has added a "team of bodyguards" to her office staff, according to reports form TMZ and elsewhere, to protect her in light of death threats she says she's received since dropping 17 criminal charges against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett.
"We're told she's deeply concerned, not only about her own safety, but also that of her family -- which is why she agreed to the security detail," TMZ reports. "Foxx is married with 4 children. The sources did not want to reveal specifics about the nature of the security in order to 'guarantee its effectiveness.'"
The city of Chicago would normally foot the bill for bodyguards, but Foxx has routinely expressed a lack of confidence in the Chicago Police Department, so it is not clear who is hiring or funding the new team.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday that Foxx has received "threats to her personal safety" since announcing that charges against Smollett would be dropped, and the States Attorney's office Investigations Bureau and Executive Protection Unit confirmed that they were alerted to the threats.
The news comes after a week of revelatory information, including new evidence, in the form of emails and text messages, that Foxx did not recuse herself properly from the Smollett case, despite admitting that she was in contact with both Smollett's relatives and parties interested in having the case either dropped or discharged to Federal investigators. In that same trove of documents, Foxx appears to tell a deputy prosecutor that Smollett is just a "washed up celeb who lied to cops" and that 17 charges for a false police report is "excessive."
Foxx's office went on to drop all 17 charges in return for Smollett's $10,000 bond check and 16 hours of community service, though the "deal" was struck without an admission of guilt on Smollett's part -- a distinct difference from most plea deals inked between prosecutors and defendents, even in non-violent cases.
The Smollett case has caused a wave of problems for Foxx, and not just from outside of Chicago. Investigations into whether Smollett's "sentence" was normal practice for the Cook County States Attorney's office revealed that Foxx and her deputies have regularly made "deals" to help even violent criminals avoid prosecution.
In two particularly shocking incidents, Foxx's office reportedly allowed a convicted domestic abuser to leave a home monitoring program -- and ended his probation -- because he pulled the batteries out of his ankle bracelet. That man went on to murder an off-duty Chicago cop just days later in a case of "mistaken identity." Foxx's office is also accused of allowing teenager Derrion Albert's killer off the hook on a suspended first degree murder sentence for unspecified reasons.
Since last Wednesday, at least three members of Foxx's staff have resigned or been fired, according to the Daily Mail.
The city of Chicago is now pursuing a civil case against Smollett to recoup around $130,000 in overtime pay for the police officers assigned to investigate Smollett's claims of a "hate crime" that took place in the early hours of January 29th, outside of Smollett's apartment building just north of downtown Chicago. That case will also likely unseal a number of records sealed by prosecutors in the days following the decision to drop charges against Smollett.
Foxx's office is now also under investigation by a city inspector general, but Foxx has already told a city board that she will not comment publicly on the Smollett case, and she will not meet with the Cook County Board to answer questions about the Smollett case while the inspector general's investigation is ongoing.