The Watch

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Will Me Too Backfire on Foxx?


Is the national Me Too movement that fights sexual harassment and assault on women backfiring on Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx?

It looks as if it is, and in a grand manner.

This week, the Chicago Tribune reported that former Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez is threatening a lawsuit against Foxx for claims Foxx made about sexual harassment while Foxx worked as a prosecutor under Alvarez:

Former State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has threatened to sue successor Kim Foxx over Foxx’s allegations in a recent book that Alvarez allowed a culture of sexual harassment to thrive during her tenure as Cook County’s top prosecutor.

Alvarez’s attorney, Eugene Hollander, sent a letter last week to Kerry Lester, the author of “No, My Place: Reflections on Sexual Harassment in Illinois Government and Politics,” demanding that Lester retract the “false allegations” by May 16 or face a defamation suit naming her as well as Foxx.

Foxx claimed that Alvarez refused to address complaints about the harassment:

In Lester’s book, Foxx, identifying Alvarez by title but not by name, said she quit as a supervisor under Alvarez in 2013 after complaining about the behavior of a high-ranking official in the office who “was known for everything from looking up women’s skirts to saying he wanted his own pretty, female intern, to asking a young woman about” performing oral sex.

“I lobbied to get this guy fired,” she told Lester. “Problem was, he was very good friends with the state’s attorney.”

Not true, says Alvarez.

Due to the false statements made by Foxx and published by Lester, word in the public and legal community has spread that Alvarez failed to root out sexual harassment in her publicly held office,” the draft suit said. “Individuals have stopped Alvarez and questioned her about the false statements contained in the book and corresponding newspaper article. . .  Alvarez’s integrity and reputation in the legal community had been greatly damaged.”

But there are deeper undertones to the battle taking shape between the former and current prosecutors.

Alvarez and Foxx made radically different decisions about key cases, signifying a deep ideological and strategic rift between the two prosecutors.

Within months of Foxx taking office, she reversed decisions on murder cases that allowed several convicted offenders to go free under claims of wrongful conviction. Foxx did so even when these convictions were supported by Alvarez. Among those cases were brutal attacks on women.

For example, Foxx’s second in command, Eric Sussman, made the bizarre announcement that the Foxx administration would not fight the freeing of two convicted killers, Gabriel Solache and Arturo Reyes, for the 1998 murder of a couple in their apartment and the kidnapping of their children. Reyes and Solache were in the country illegally at the time of the murders.

The men were freed under the claim that their confessions had been coerced by now-retired detective Ray Guevara. Foxx’s decision to release the men was made even though Sussman said he believed the men were guilty.

From the Chicago Tribune:

First Assistant State’s Attorney Eric Sussman said prosecutors still strongly believe Gabriel Solache and Arturo Reyes are guilty of the 1998 fatal stabbing of a couple in their Bucktown neighborhood home. . . .

Prosecutors under Alvarez, however, maintained the legitimacy of convictions under Guevara.

“We don’t feel these guys are innocent guys,” prosecutor Fabio Valentini said about the Guevara cases.

Even after the two men were set free and Foxx’s own people admitted they thought the men were guilty of the murders, Foxx made no public move to keep the men out of the country, remaining silent as lawyers for the men maneuvered to keep them in the country.

So Foxx cuts the men lose, then remains silent about the men remaining in the country after they get their walking papers.

In another Foxx travesty, a gruesome sexual assault and murder, wrongful conviction lawyers claimed Nevest Coleman and Darryl Fulton were innocent of the vicious 1994 rape and murder of a twenty-year-old woman, Antwinica Bridgeman, because new DNA tests from the victim not available at the time of the crime point to another person, a serial rapist. 

This, supporters of Coleman argued, makes the case a wrongful conviction. But the location of the body, witness statements, and the confessions of the offenders all weigh heavily toward the men being guilty. True to form, Sussman and Foxx dropped charges against Coleman last year and did not challenge the certificate of innocence. Foxx and Sussman remained silent in the wake of completely ludicrous media reports about the case, painting Coleman in a glaringly suspicious light.

In the context of the threatened lawsuit against Foxx by Alvarez and the willingness of Foxx to toss vicious assaults on women, these cases alone challenge her credibility and integrity.

But it gets much, much worse for the second-year prosecutor, whose campaign was supported by donations from George Soros and wrongful conviction attorneys who have filed multimillion-dollar lawsuits on behalf of the once-convicted killers she has set free.

Turning her back on nearly three decades of evidence that wrongful conviction cases, all based on police misconduct, are rife with corruption—including cases that involve those that involved the murder of children and women—Foxx has completely undermined the criminal justice system in the short period she has been placed in office.

Indeed, her administration now seems clearly aimed at attacking the police rather than protecting the public, culminating in a decision last week not to charge two offenders involved in a fatal carjacking of a retired police officer on the South Side.

And her claims that she was once the victim of sexual harassment under the big bad Alvarez administration?

Well, maybe. That too may go to trial.

But Foxx’s allegations that Alvarez allowed a culture of sexual harassment is starting to look deeply suspicious for an administration that so cavalierly allows so many once-convicted killers and rapists to walk free.

Deeply, deeply suspicious.