It seems that some parties involved in the Jussie Smollett affair want to stretch this thing out as long as humanly possible. (It’s still happening. It’s still happening. It will always be happening.) And, frankly, I’m here for it. Let’s dig in.
When we last saw Tina Tchen, the former Michelle Obama aid who reached out to Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx just days after Smollett’s supposed attack, she was very vocally staying mum on the case as a TMZ pap attempted to badger her into comment. Well, Tchen reaffirmed her commitment to “HELL NO” on Wednesday when a process sever attempted to serve her a subpoena at the law firm where she works and she simply would not go to the lobby to collect her papers, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“I don’t know why she’d turn it down. She’ll be served eventually,” said Edward Ryan, owner of a private investigation firm that employed Tchen’s would-be server.
The subpoena was filed by Sheila O’Brien, a retired judge who was firing all cylinders Tuesday when she filed seven motions related to the Smollett case. O’Brien also filed subpoenas for Cooks County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, whose office ultimately dropped the charges against Smollett (though she had somewhat informally recused herself from handling the case, supposedly), as well as Foxx’s deputy Joseph Magats, whom you may remember as the recipient of the text in which Foxx called Smollett a “washed up celeb who lied to cops.”
O’Brien’s filings also include one that call for Foxx to pay for her own attorneys in her alleged attempt to fend off an investigation into prosecutors’ handling of the Smollett case. O’Brien’s filing alleges that Foxx is using “tax supported attorneys to evade subpoenas, hide from the press and continue to evade the truth.” O’Brien petitioned the chief judge in April for the special prosecutor to investigate Foxx’s office. Many of O’Brien’s filings on Tuesday were actually refilings—the judge last week, for example, refused her subpoena filings for Foxx and Magats “on procedural grounds,” according to the Sun-Times.
An emergency hearing is scheduled for next week, which means more fun for us.
A judge is expected to rule today on whether Smollett’s case will be unsealed. When the charges were dropped, it was announced that his case file would be sealed. Later, Foxx clarified that that was at Smollett’s request.
“In the interest of full transparency, I would prefer these records be made public,” wrote Foxx in a March Chicago Tribune op-ed. “However, in this case, Illinois law allows defendants in certain circumstances to request that public records remain sealed. Smollett chose to pursue that avenue, and so my office is barred from releasing those records without his approval.”
I’m just going to put the lede of this Sun-Times story about about Smollett’s alleged attackers right here and let you read the rest if you so choose. Really, this says it all:
“The bodybuilding brothers who sued Jussie Smollett’s lawyers for defamation say the actor’s counselors are ducking them, and they want the U.S. Marshals to get involved.”
Everyone’s doing a great job of keeping this thing going.
*Update (1:11 pm): On Thursday, Judge Steven Watkins ordered Smollett’s file to be unsealed, saying the actor had “not shown good cause to rebut the public presumption of access.” Whoo!