The special prosecutor appointed to delve into the morass of motives surrounding the Jussie Smollett case once donated to the campaign of the prosecutor whose office is at the center of his investigation.
Attorney Dan Webb publicly revealed that he donated $1,000 to Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s campaign and helped host a fundraiser for her at his law firm, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Webb, a former U.S. attorney, filed a declaration with Cook County criminal court saying he had “no recollection” of attending the fundraiser or making the donation.
In his filing, Webb said donating did not equal support.
“I should point out that it is common for Winston partners to host fundraisers for political candidates at our firm,” Webb wrote to Cook County Judge Michael Toomin, who named Webb a special prosecutor in August.
“It is also common that my Winston partners request that I contribute to these fundraisers.”
Webb was appointed by Toomin to look into all aspects of the case, in which Smollett first claimed he was attacked by two men.
The claim received wide publicity, but it was later revealed that the attack was staged with the help of two people Smollett hired for the occasion. Smollett was indicted by a grand jury for lying to police about what was believed to be a hate crime attack.
Although Foxx recused herself from the case, citing a conflict of interest due to communication with Smollett’s family, her office later decided to drop all charges against the actor who formerly starred in “Empire.” Chicago police reacted with outrage after charges were dropped, leading to accusations of political motivation by Foxx and her office.
Toomin said in June that the conduct of Foxx’s office required an outside review, WBBM-TV reported.
“The unprecedented irregularities identified in this case warrants the appointment of independent counsel to restore the public’s confidence in the integrity of our criminal justice system,” he wrote.
Reviewing the conduct of Foxx’s office, including the decision to drop all charges. is part of the job assigned to Webb, who will now appear before Toomin Friday to discuss this latest development.
“That’s a pretty big disclosure to make at this point in time,” said Irv Miller, who serves as a legal analyst for WBBM in Chicago. “At the very least, it’s an oversight.”
At the time of Webb’s appointment, the station reported, Webb said he “did not know Kim Foxx” and as best that could recall, had “never met Kim Foxx.”
“I made a $1,000 contribution to a political candidate, I would remember it,” Miller said. “He did disclose this promptly. It will be interesting to see if Judge Toomin thinks it’s a major issue.”
Webb said in the document filed with the court that Michael Bromwich, an attorney for Foxx “made it clear” that Foxx is not going to claim there is a conflict based on the donation or make “any other objection related to this contribution.”
Along with his declaration, Webb submitted a copy of the flyer promoting the event for Foxx, which lists him as one of the hosts.
In the filing, he said Kimball Anderson, a partner with Webb’s firm, supported Foxx politically and held the fundraiser at her request.
“Mr. Anderson stated that the fundraiser was sparsely attended, and that Ms. Foxx and her staff showed up very late,” Webb wrote in his filing with the court. “Ms. Foxx then made a few comments to the remaining attendees, and apologized for her lateness and left.”