Google employees have been ordered to turn over a year’s worth of Jussie Smollett’s emails and data as part of an investigation into why charges against him were dropped.
Last January, the 37-year-old actor claimed he was attacked by two men outside his apartment in Chicago, but in a stunning turn of events, he was accused of staging the crime and subsequently charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report in February 2019. All charges against him were unexpectedly dropped in March, and the FBI launched an investigation into the dismissal.
According to the Chicago Tribune newspaper, special prosecutor Dan Webb submitted search warrant requests to the court, and they were signed off by Cook County Judge Michael Toomin last month.
The warrants reportedly compel Google executives to hand over emails, photographs, private messages and location data from both Smollett and his manager’s accounts, including deleted messages and draft emails that were never sent. In addition, Webb requested files from the pair’s Google Drive storage services, as well as Google Voice texts and their web browsing history – all from November 2018 to November 2019.
Toomin appointed Webb to investigate the case shortly after Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office agreed to drop all charges and seal the case last March.
In granting the warrants, Toomin ordered Google not to disclose his decision, saying that doing so may “jeopardise an ongoing criminal investigation”.
It remains unclear at this point whether or not Google has handed the information over as yet.
Smollett, who was dropped by TV show Empire over the scandal, has maintained his innocence throughout the arrest and investigation.