A Cook County judge has ordered Google to turn over nearly all of Jussie Smollett’s data from the last year as prosecutors move forward in investigating the alleged hate crime hoax.
The Chicago Tribune reported, “The warrants, filed last month in Circuit Court, sought a trove of documentation from Smollett and his manager’s Google accounts — not just emails but also drafted and deleted messages; any files in their Google Drive cloud storage services; any Google Voice texts, calls and contacts; search and web browsing history; and location data.”
In the warrants, investigators asked for an entire year of data, starting in November 2018 and ending in November 2019.
The Tribune added, “Authorities could be looking for any incriminating remarks from Smollett or his manager, especially in the months after State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office abruptly dismissed disorderly conduct charges against the then-‘Empire’ actor just weeks after his indictment.”
Foxx’s questionable actions caused public outrage which ultimately contributed to Judge Michael Toomin’s decision to appoint a special prosecutor, former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb, to re-prosecute the case.
In a separate report, the Tribune added, “Webb, 73, now the co-chairman of the powerful Winston & Strawn law firm, has investigated the conduct of numerous targets over the years, from corrupt local officials to a former president.”
The alleged hate crime hoax, in which Smollett is accused of staging an attack on himself, actually started before the alleged stage attack happened.
NPR reported that on January 22, “Smollett … says he received a letter at the Chicago studios where the show is filmed. Inside the letter — according to the actor — were a then-unknown powder, a drawing of a stick figure hanging from a tree, and cutout letters stating: ‘Smollett Jussie you will die black f***.'”
Exactly one week later, on January 29, Smollett told police that he was attacked late at night by two individuals who he claimed “yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him, beat him up, poured a chemical on him, and left him with a rope wrapped around his neck,” NPR added.
Police initially arrested two brothers from the alleged attack, but, after 48 hours in custody, the case turned.
Chicago Police Department’s Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi tweeted on February 15: “Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete.”
Days later Smollett was charged and was accused of staging the entire event because he “was dissatisfied with his salary.”
“Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at the time. “I’m left hanging my head and asking why.Why would anyone, especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile? How can an individual who’s been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in this city in the face by making these false claims?”
This report has been updated to include additional information