Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has recused herself from the investigation surrounding the alleged attack on “Empire” star Jussie Smollett, her office said Tuesday.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the decision to recuse herself was made to address potential questions of impartiality based upon familiarity with potential witnesses in the case,” a spokesperson for Foxx said in a statement.
First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats is set to act as State’s Attorney in her place in the case, according to NBC Chicago.
Smollett was hospitalized on Jan. 29, and reported to police that he was assaulted near his Chicago home by two men who shouted racist and homophobic slurs and referenced “MAGA.” According to a police statement after the incident, the actor said he was battered “about the face,” had bleach poured on him and had a rope wrapped around his neck.
A CNN report on Saturday, citing two unnamed law enforcement sources, said investigators believe Smollett may have paid the two men — Nigerian brothers with a professional connection to Smollett — to orchestrate the attack. According to the report, the men were released after agreeing to cooperate with investigators.
Smollett’s lawyers have denied that the reported attack was a hoax, saying “anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”
Tim Baysinger contributed to this report.