Chicago pastors endorse Kim Foxx as Smollett scandal grows

As she battles questions over her handling of the Jussie Smollett case, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx got a big endorsement Tuesday from Chicago-area clergy.

The endorsement came as a special prosecutor indicted Smollett for a second time on charges of lying to police about a racist attack.

About 50 African-American pastors from churches throughout Cook County gathered to endorse Foxx's bid for a second term as state's attorney, saying she has delivered on her campaign promise four years ago to overhaul the criminal justice system.

"At the end of the day, she is a woman that's helping our young people,” said Bishop Larry Trotter, Sweet Holy Spirit Church. “She is a woman that's making changes in our jails."

Foxx has made sweeping changes in Cook County's bond system and raised the threshold for prosecution on many non-violent crimes, which has drastically reduced the population of Cook County jail.

Foxx says she's redeployed the resources to fighting violent crime.

"We weren't going after those who were pulling triggers,” said Foxx. “The number one referred prosecution in 2016, the bloodiest year in 20 years, was retail theft, shoplifting."

However, Foxx has been criticized in some quarters as being soft on crime and the endorsement comes on the same day special prosecutor Dan Webb filed charges against Smollett, a case in which Foxx admits she made mistakes.

"We have an obligation to be transparent in everything we do,” said Foxx. “And we dropped the ball on transparency in the way that we handled this case. What I’ve learned is to be more vocal, that we have to talk about our work."

The ministers say the Smollett case is outweighed by Foxx’s efforts at reform, an argument they say they'll make in their church communities.