Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx recuses herself from Smollett case

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx has officially recused herself from the Jussie Smollett case, according to Chicago police.

Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats is taking over the case.

"Shortly after the incident occurred in late January, State’s Attorney Foxx had conversations with a family member of Jussie Smollett about the incident and their concerns, and facilitated a connection to the Chicago Police Department who were investigating the incident," a statement from the Cook County State's Attorney's Office read. "Based on those prior conversations and out of an abundance of caution, last week State’s Attorney Foxx decided to remove herself from the decision making in this matter and delegated it to her First Assistant Joseph Magats, a 28-year veteran prosecutor.” 

On Tuesday, the two brothers from Nigeria and their lawyer went before prosecutors and police at the Cook County courthouse. The brothers and their attorney were ushered in and out of the building in total secrecy – treatment rarely granted by prosecutors and usually reserved for celebrities like the time Oprah Winfrey went there for jury duty.

Attorney Gloria Schmidt was seen walking out of a room marked “Grand Jury” and when asked about her clients, she said she simply had no comment.

Police tell FOX 32 the brothers did not testify before a grand jury. Police also say the brothers are cooperating as it appears they are trying to build a case against Smollett.

Meanwhile, federal investigators are still investigating the hate letter that was sent to Smollett at the “Empire” studios. That is a separate investigation from the one conducted by Chicago police. If the feds find that Smollett did send that letter to himself and can prove it, he could also be facing federal charges separate from the case that Chicago PD is building.

Foxx recusing herself comes on the same day CPD investigated but dismissed a tip that on the night "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett reported being attacked by two masked men, he was in an elevator of his apartment building with the two brothers later arrested and released from custody in the probe, a department spokesman said Tuesday.

Former Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez took shots at her successor's recusal Wednesday, writing on her public Facebook page: "Maybe I should have just recused myself from the difficult cases that came across my desk when I was State's Attorney. I was under the impression that when the voters elected me and I took my oath of office it meant I had to do my job."