An Illinois judge granted two sweeping search warrants ordering Google to turn over a year’s worth of data from Jussie Smollett and his manager as a special prosecutor probes whether or not the “Empire” actor staged a racist and homophobic attack against himself.
The warrants, filed last month in Cook County Circuit Court, will give investigators access to Smollett’s and his manager’s texts, emails, photos, location data, drafted and deleted messages, any files in their Google Drive cloud storage services, Google Voice texts, calls and contacts, as well as their search and web browsing history, dated between November 2018 and November 2019, according to reports by the Chicago Tribune.
Smollett, who is African-American and openly gay, garnered national attention and immediate sympathy after he claimed that two men attacked him on Jan. 29, 2019, and placed a noose around his neck as they shouted racist and homophobic epithets at him. Smollett’s manager called 911 and was at the scene and visible on surveillance footage from the night of the attack.
An investigation by the Chicago police revealed a plot twist, though — that Smollett allegedly paid $3,500 to the two brothers, both natives of Nigeria, allegedly to attack him outside his apartment building.