Mayor’s Office Releases Heated Text Exchange Between Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and State Attorney

by Xara Aziz
Courtesy: WBEZ (left)/WTTW (right)

A behind-the-scenes clash between ousted Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has shed new light on what some believe was the city’s inability to lead its administration in its fight against corruption and police misconduct, according to a recent Chicago Tribune report.

According to text messages obtained by the Tribune, Lightfoot accused Foxx of “handing out certificates of innocence like they’re candy.” In response, Foxx wrote that she assumed “they misquoted you given we don’t give certificates, judges do. If in fact you said this, I remain disappointed that you continue to say things that aren’t true.”

Lightfoot later replied to the text – which was released by her office. “Kim, I apologize for my inartful words which were not accurately captured but nonetheless were too casual and flippant given the serious nature of the topic.”

The report further disclosed that the mayor’s office released the messages because the paper requested a Tribune Freedom of Information, which grants the public and media the right to know about the activities of public authorities. The state attorney was required to release text messages between the two as well, leading them to release the exchange from a broader context.

“But as you know from our past conversations directly about these and other post conviction issues, we have been greatly distressed by the way in which your office handles these matters,” Lightfoot texted. According to the report, she had complained that her team totally and pointedly rebuffed while trying to address the matter with Foxx’s office.”

“Obviously, there are legacy issues with the CPD that your office is dealing with in the post conviction process, but I have always thought, respecting each other’s independent and different jurisdictions, that there was a way for better communications,” Lightfoot wrote in a text. “I am sure you are aware that once these cases are resolved in the county, they immediately go to federal court and file 9 and 10 figure lawsuits against us and we know about the cases for the first time when we see the plaintiff’s press release.”

She continued: “Of course the judges make the ultimate decision but as you know and I know, that decision is most times heavily influenced by the recommendation of the state’s attorney. Happy to get my team in a room with your team to discuss again. It would be great to make progress.”

Foxx then responded “Lori, you were wrong. Period. Your apology was sufficient. This is bullsh*t. You need not write a dissertation for fear of FOIA. Just be honest. That’s all. Just be honest.”

Lightfoot then proceeded to condemn Foxx for relying on plaintiffs’ lawyers, stating that “when you cool off and want to have another official conversation about this topic that is very urgent for us, I will bring my team to your office and we can discuss.”

The heated exchange highlights disagreements between a City Hall concerned about liability and prosecutors who have had to deal with a combative legacy of unlawful convictions in the county. “But it’s also a potentially significant transparency violation by Lightfoot’s office, which declined to explain why they didn’t produce the entire exchange,” the report added.

Lightfoot and Foxx have long been known to have a reassuring rapport leading up to Foxx’s first run for state’s attorney in 2016, but things soon turned sour when they would consistently dispute over criminal justice issues in the city. In 2020, police superintendent David Brown accused Foxx of civil unrest, believing that looters knew there wouldn’t be consequences to their actions.

“It does not serve us to have dishonest blame games when all of our hearts are breaking,” Foxx said at a press conference at the time.

Lightfoot lost her reelection bid earlier this year, losing to Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson who will succeed her.

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