Chicago attorney Tina Tchen reportedly dodged a subpoena requesting documents of her conversations with the Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx surrounding the investigation of Empire actor Jussie Smollett.
Tchen, who was formerly chief of staff to Michelle Obama, refused to to meet with a process server that was trying to serve her the subpoena at her office, according to reporting from the Chicago Sun-Times. The guard told the process server that Tchen “knew about” the subpoena, but that she refused to come down and accept it.
The subpoena was issued by former Illinois Appellate Judge Sheila O’Brien, who is advocating for a special prosecutor to look into how the Foxx’s office handled the dismissal of charges against Smollett. The subpoena issued to Tchen was for “any and all documents, notes, phone records, texts, tape recordings made or received at any time, concerning [Tchen’s] conversations with Kim Foxx in re: Jussie Smollett.”
Some of Tchen’s correspondence with Foxx was previously leaked. In one exchange, Foxx told Tchen that she “spoke to Superintendent Johnson. I convinced him to reach out to FBI to ask that they take over the investigation. He is reaching out now and will get back to me shortly.”
“I know members of the Smollett family based on prior work together,” Tchen said after the case was dropped against Smollett. “Shortly after Mr. Smollett reported he was attacked, as a family friend, I contacted Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who I also know from prior work together.”
“My sole activity was to put the chief prosecutor in the case in touch with an alleged victim’s family who had concerns about how the investigation was being characterized in public,” she added.
The Smollett case gained nationwide attention after the actor claimed he was doused with a bleach-like substance while out walking in Chicago. He said two attackers came armed with a noose and spewed racist and homophobic slurs at him, declaring that it was “MAGA country.” After a while, Chicago Police accused Smollett of paying Abel and Ola Osundairo to stage a hate crime. Smollett was charged with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report. The charges against Smollett were later dropped in exchange for the actor forfeiting his $10,000 bond and agreeing to perform “voluntary” community service.
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