Google has been ordered to surrender a year's worth of former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett's personal data to prosecutors, including his emails, location data, photos, and documents stored in Google Drive, according to a new report from the Chicago Tribune.
Authorities are investigating whether Smollett staged a racist, homophobic attack on himself in January 2019. A Circuit Court Judge in Illinois' Cook County ordered Google to turn over all of Smollett's data from November 2018 to November 2019.
It's unclear whether Google complied with the order, but in the past, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has said that Google is willing to provide user data in response to "valid legal orders."
The saga of Jussie Smollett has taken a new turn after a Circuit Court Judge ordered Google to surrender all of the "Empire" actor's personal data dated from November 2018 to November 2019 — including all of his emails, location data, personal photos, and documents stored in Google Drive, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Tribune first reported the news after obtaining a pair of search warrants related to Smollett's data.
According to search warrants obtained by the Chicago Tribune, Cook County Circuit Judge Michael Toomin ordered Google to surrender Smollett's data on Dec. 6. Toomin also told Google not to publicly disclose that Smollett's records were being surrendered, because it "may jeopardize an ongoing criminal investigation."
It's unclear if Google complied with the order, and a company spokesperson told the Tribune they could not comment on specific requests for records from law enforcement. In the past, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said has said that Google is willing to provide user data in response to "valid legal orders."
Authorities are investigating whether Smollett staged a racist, homophobic attack on himself in January 2019, in an incident that made headlines and dominated the national conversation. Smollett told police he was attacked by two men who slipped a noose around his neck and shouted multiple slurs at him. However, a police investigation found that Smollett had prior contact with the two men and offered them $3,500 to fake the incident.
As a result, Smollett now faces a civil lawsuit from the City of Chicago demanding $130,000 in restitution for the cost of the police investigation, and an ongoing investigation from the Cook County State's Attorney.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
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