The investigation into Jussie Smollett’s “hate crime hoax” is kicking off with former U.S. attorney Dan Webb as its head.
Earlier today, Webb was appointed special prosecutor to look into the handling of the case against gay, black actor Jussie Smollett, who was accused of staging his own “racist, homophobic” attack for publicity and to put Trump supporters in a bad light back in January.
Smollett’s charges were abruptly dropped in March, causing widespread uproar in America to bring Smollett to justice!
Under Dan Webb, we hope that this justice will be served, at last.
So far, it looks promising. Webb is planning an in-depth investigation into why the Smollett case was dropped and has a long background of success uncovering Chicago corruption.
Here's a clip from Fox News with more details on the role Dan Webb will play in bringing the Smollet case to a (hopefully satisfying) end:
The Chicago Tribune has more:
Former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb was sworn in Friday as a special prosecutor to investigate the entire Jussie Smollett case, from the former “Empire" actor’s claims that he was the target of a racist and homophobic attack to prosecutors’ sudden decision to drop charges that he had faked the assault.
Webb’s appointment marks the end of a two-month search by Cook County Judge Michael Toomin, who in June ruled that irregularities in the case warranted a special prosecutor.
"Obviously, this is something we take very seriously,” Webb told reporters after he was sworn in during a brief hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building. “We are honored to play a role in helping, as Judge Toomin said in a recent order, to restore the public’s confidence in the integrity of our criminal justice system.”
Webb declined to give a time frame for his investigation, but said he has a few immediate priorities. He plans to request a special grand jury, whose members could hear sworn testimony from witnesses and deliver criminal indictments. And he said he will reach out to Smollett’s attorneys and key witnesses.
Webb was flanked by two colleagues from the prominent law firm of Winston & Strawn, where Webb is co-executive chairman, who he said will assist him: Sean Wieber and Sam Mendenhall.
The appointment adds even more star power to a case that has made nearly constant headlines for months.
Initially, Smollett drew support from celebrities and politicians across the country when he reported the attack in January. But that soon turned to condemnation when he was charged with filing a false report about it with police. The controversy intensified when those charges were dropped with little explanation from Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office.
Foxx said she recused herself from the case after having contact with a member of Smollett’s family early in the investigation at the request of Tina Tchen, Michelle Obama’s former chief of staff.
In June, Toomin determined that the entire Smollett case may be legally invalid from start to finish since Foxx inappropriately named her top deputy to take over after she recused herself.
Toomin reached out to more than 100 public prosecuting agencies across the state to see if they would be interested in taking over as special prosecutor. Two county state’s attorneys said they were willing, but neither was equipped to handle the case, Toomin said from the bench.
He then turned to private attorneys and selected Webb, calling him “a man guided by a strong moral compass and integrity."
Webb told reporters he saw his mission as threefold: Determine if Smollett or any others “engaged in any wrongdoing,” find out if the actor should be prosecuted further, and submit a written report with his findings at the conclusion of his probe.
His team will not need to start from scratch, he said, because several public agencies have already gathered a lot of evidence.
This is not the first time Toomin has tapped the veteran attorney for such a role.
In 2012, Toomin appointed him special prosecutor to look into whether clout tainted the investigation of former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew in a confrontation that led to the death of David Koschman. Webb billed the county nearly $1 million for that investigation.
But on Friday, Webb told reporters his firm would not charge legal fees in this case, though the county will be billed for some out-of-pocket expenses. “We are going to do the entire matter, start to finish, pro bono."
NBC New York also stated:
An Illinois judge appointed a special prosecutor Friday to investigate the case surrounding actor Jussie Smollett, accused of staging a racist and anti-gay attack on himself in Chicago.
Cook County Judge Michael Toomin tapped former federal prosecutor Dan Webb to serve as special prosecutor in a hearing Friday after ruling in June, based on a petition from a retired judge, that one was necessary in the case.
Webb is the former U.S. attorney who led the "Operation Greylord" investigations into judicial corruption in Cook County, and is currently the co-executive chairman of Winston & Strawn LLP, according to his bio on the law firm's website.
Webb said at a news conference after the hearing that he believed Toomin had assigned him to complete three main tasks.
"First, to investigate if any persons or offices involved in the Smollett case engaged in any wrongdoing," Webb said.
"Number two, determine if reasonable grounds do exist to further prosecute Mr. Smollett," he continued. "And number three, to submit a written report to the court of our findings and conclusions at the end of the special prosecutor's investigation."
Webb said one of the first things he believed he and his team would do in the investigation would be to file a motion before Toomin requesting the appointment of a special grand jury.
He also said he didn't want to "reinvent the wheel," and would thus quickly reach out to the four government agencies who have investigated the situation: the Cook County state's attorney's office, the Chicago Police Department, the inspector general of Cook County and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Webb added that he would also reach out to Smollett's legal team early on, as well as set up interviews with key witnesses in the case.
Webb noted that he and Winston and Strawn would complete the investigation pro bono, without charging the county (and subsequently, taxpayers) any legal fees beyond out-of-pocket expenses.