The special prosecutor appointed to investigate Jussie Smollett and how State’s Attorney Kim Foxx handled the criminal case against the “Empire” actor, donated $1,000 to Foxx’s 2016 campaign.
Dan Webb, the former U.S. Attorney chosen by Judge Michael Toomin to handle the Smollett probe, stated in a court filing Monday that he did not recall writing a check during Foxx’s campaign for state’s attorney until he got a call from from Foxx’s attorney last week.
Webb said he commonly makes donations at the request of partners at his firm, Winston & Strawn, and that he likely gave the money in response to a request from a Winston lawyer who hosted a fundraiser for Foxx at the law firm. A copy of the invitation to the fundraiser lists Webb as one of three lawyers from the firm named as “hosts.”
Webb, the co-executive chairman of the powerhouse firm, said he routinely makes political contributions at the request of other members of the firm, “unless I have some specific reason why I do not want to support the candidate.”
Webb’s filing states that Foxx’s attorney told him, “He and Kim Foxx do not consider this political contribution an issue … and … Kim Foxx will not claim any conflict of interest or have any other objection related to this contribution.”
Foxx issued a statement Monday: “On Tuesday of last week, my campaign staff notified me that Dan Webb had contributed $1,000 to my campaign in October 2016. Mr. Webb was notified that same day, and my office continues to cooperate fully with the investigation.”
Webb has called for a status hearing Friday in the Smollett case, the first in-court action in the case since Toomin announced Webb’s appointment at a hearing in August. Webb was then charged to investigate the evidence against Smollett, and possibly issue new charges, as well as review how Foxx’s office handled the unorthodox decision to drop all charges against the actor just weeks after a grand jury indicted him for lying to police officers about a hate crime attack that he allegedly staged with the help of two acquaintances.
Webb’s filing does not mention that the donation came after Foxx’s upset victory over incumbent Anita Alvarez in the Democratic primary, and Webb had previously given a total of $3,000 to Alvarez ahead of the primary.
Webb wrote that before his appointment, he had told Toomin that he did not know Foxx and did not recall ever meeting her. That remained his recollection until he got a call from Foxx’s attorney, Michael Bromwich, Sept. 24.
Bromwich said the check was related to a fundraiser at Winston & Strawn, hosted by Winston lawyer Kimball Anderson on Oct. 12, 2016. Anderson told Webb he did not recall Webb attending the fundraiser, and the $1,000 check for Webb’s donation was dated Oct. 12.
Webb, who endorsed Hillary Clinton in her 2016 race against Donald Trump, is a Republican and was appointed U.S. Attorney by Ronald Reagan in 1981. His campaign contributions over the decades have gone to candidates of both parties, with Webb often donating to Democratic candidates in local races. Campaign finance records show he has made a total of $372,977.66 in contributions to various candidates dating back to 1999.