Smollett case could undermine prosecutor’s reform efforts

Chicago’s top prosecutor drew heavy criticism after she recused herself from the case against Jussie Smollett and then complained in text messages to a subordinate that her office had overcharged the “Empire” actor.

But anyone who has followed Kim Foxx’s work recognized in the texts the same reforms she’s tried for years to implement. Those changes include not overcharging for nonviolent crimes and offering alternatives to taking a suspect to court.

Anger about the decision has also resulted in threats of physical harm to the prosecutor. Chief of staff Jennifer Ballard Croft told the Chicago Sun-Times the threatening messages came in the form of emails and calls, with some containing “racially-charged language.”

Critically, dropping the charges could undermine Foxx’s efforts to overhaul the nation’s second-largest district attorney’s office. For decades, it has been seen as too aggressive and reliant on abusive police practices.

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