Jussie Smollett debacle dominates Chicago mayoral debate

Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot faced more questions Wednesday night about the Jussie Smollett case.

The two mayoral candidates met for their next-to-last mayoral forum and both said State's Attorney Kim Foxx needs to provide far more information.  

Preckwinkle initially launched the political career of Foxx, first as a Chief of Staff, then guiding her into office as Cook County State's Attorney. With Foxx facing an uproar after dismissing all charges against Smollett, Preckwinkle offered advice.

“The state's attorney has to be really forthcoming about the reasons for the dismissal,” said Preckwinkle. “And I think, in this instance, the judge needs to unseal the record so that the public has an opportunity to see what really transpired. This is a case in which there are a lot of questions. And those questions are unanswered.”

Preckwinkle's runoff rival was more pointed.

“The optics look like: If you're rich and famous, you've got one kind of justice,” said Lightfoot. “And, if you're everybody else, it's something entirely different!”

Lightfoot noted the contradictions coming from the State's Attorney's Office, calling their 16-count felony indictment of Smollett, "rock solid!" while allowing him to deny any wrongdoing.

“The seemingly strange situation where they say the evidence is fine, they believe that he's guilty, but they gave him essentially a pass,” said Lightfoot. 

“Only through a focus on transparency and accountability can I think the public have some confidence that justice was done,” said Preckwinkle. 

The two candidates will meet Friday night at Chicago State University for their final live broadcast forum. It will air on public radio.