Chicago prosecutor Kim Foxx's staff members quit after Jussie Smollett case

The Common Ground Foundation fundraiser and gala

The Common Ground Foundation fundraiser and gala

Two of Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx's top deputies - the office's chief ethics officer and the head of the Conviction Integrity Unit - have submitted resignations and will be leaving next month.

Director of External Affairs Kiera Ellis also is no longer with the office, its chief communications officer, Tandra Simonton, told CNN.

Two prosecutors' associations, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 2 and several suburban police chiefs have blasted Foxx and her office for how they handled the Smollett case.

In her resignation letter, Perry said she is leaving to work in the private sector.

Irv Miller, a legal analyst who works for CBS, said that the top positions usually change when a new state attorney comes on board, not in the middle of one's tenure. On Thursday evening, Foxx sent a notice to staff about a May 1 farewell party for Rotert and Perry, lauding both for their work with the office.

Mark Rotert is retiring after about two years leading the Conviction Integrity Unit, which reviews alleged wrongful convictions. Some 70 people had convictions vacated or prosecutions abandoned by the office after CIU reviews exposed flaws in the cases.

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Rotert presided over a sea change in how the office dealt with wrongful conviction claims, with the state's attorney's office a year ago agreeing to the first-ever "mass exoneration" in Cook County, wiping out criminal convictions for 15 defendants whose cases were tainted by the involvement of Chicago Police officers under the command of former Sgt. Ronald Watts. Perry's name appears multiple times in the exchanges. The organization said Foxx should not recuse herself without recusing the entire office and noted "a case with the consequential effects of Mr. Smollett's should not be resolved without a finding of guilt or innocence".

Foxx's office released a statement announcing that she had recused herself, but the office was forced to clarify that she had recused herself only "in the colloquial sense" after it was reported that she had continued to involve herself in the case. "Shortly after the incident occurred in late January, State's Attorney Foxx had conversations with a family member of Jussie Smollett about the incident and their concerns, and facilitated a connection to the Chicago Police Department who were investigating the incident", a statement from the office read.

Perry, who is Rotert's supervisor, did not respond to requests for comment.

'She has been a valuable resource to the office in ensuring that we operate with the highest levels of integrity and professionalism. "I wish her well in her new endeavors".

"I make no guarantees, but I'm trying", Foxx replied.

On March 8, it became public that Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts for allegedly lying to police over a staged assault against himself earlier this year - after discussing the move with Perry.

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