The decision to file a fresh set of charges against Jussie Smollett now rests in the hands of John Lausch, Chicago’s US Attorney who was handpicked by President Trump.
Lausch, who grew up in Joliet, Illinois, worked as an assistant US attorney in the Windy City from 1999 to 2010 and then as a partner at a private firm before being officially sworn into office in November 2017, the Chicago Tribune reported.
In a surprise move on Tuesday, state prosecutors dropped all 16 felony charges against Smollettrelated to his alleged hoax hate-crime attack in January.
But the FBI has been working with the Chicago police department since early in the investigation and processed all of the evidence in the case, cops have said.
The feds and investigators with the US Postal Inspection Service have been also probing a death threat letter Smollett received a week prior to the purported beatdown.
That means the “Empire” star could potentially face federal charges including obstruction of justice, mailing threatening communications and conspiracy.
Sentences for those crimes range from five to 20 years.
“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is working closely with our law enforcement partners on this investigation,” the postal service said in a statement to Fox News. “We are unable to provide any additional comment at this time.”
As a prosecutor, Lausch focused on large-scale gang and drug cases. One of his most notable prosecutions was of corrupt Chicago cop Joseph Miedzianowski, who secretly worked as a drug dealer, leading to the disbandment of the Chicago Police Department’s gang crimes unit.
Miedzianowski is now serving life in prison.
In 2017, a former colleague of Lausch’s noted his close ties to local cops and prosecutors.
“John is very well regarded among local law enforcement, both Chicago police and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, because he’s been in the trenches,” the colleague said.
Lausch earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 1992 and his law degree from Northwestern University.
Under then-US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, Lausch served as the violent crime coordinator and led the office’s Anti-Gang and Project Safe Neighborhoods programs.
Additional reporting by Gabrielle Fonrouge