Special prosecutor Dan Webb was appointed in late August after all the charges against Jussie Smollett were abruptly dropped early last year

By Helen Murphy
January 09, 2020 10:39 AM
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A judge has reportedly ordered Google to turn over a year’s worth of Jussie Smollett‘s data, including emails and private messages, as part of a special prosecutor’s investigation.

In two search warrants obtained by the Chicago Tribune, special prosecutor Dan Webb reportedly sought data from Smollett and his manager’s Google accounts from November 2018 to November 2019. The data sought reportedly includes emails, Google Voice texts and calls, web browsing history and location data.

According to the Tribune, the warrants were signed off by Cook County Judge Michael Toomin last month, and provide the first public look into the special prosecutor’s probe, which began in late August after all charges against Smollett were abruptly dropped early last year.

The Tribune reports that it remains unclear on whether Google has yet to comply with the judge’s request, and Google did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Jussie Smollett
| Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty

Webb was appointed as special prosecutor following public confusion after the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office suddenly dropped all charges against the Empire actor, 37, at the end of March.

Smollett was originally indicted in early March with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false report claiming two men attacked him in an alleged homophobic and racist hate crime in Chicago.

The actor pleaded not guilty to allegations that he lied to police when he said he was attacked in what authorities later claimed was a staged incident to draw attention to himself.

Though the charges were dropped, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office did not fully retreat from its initial decision to bring charges against him or otherwise address whether prosecutors still believed he staged the attack, saying they “stand by the Chicago Police Department’s investigation and our approval of charges.” Smollett has always denied any wrongdoing.

“I’ve been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one,” he told reporters at the Cook County courthouse in Chicago following the dismissal of charges against him. Smollett added, “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of doing what I was accused of.”

Jussie Smollett
| Credit: Paul Beaty/AP/REX/Shutterstock

After the scandal, Smollett’s TV character, Jamal Lyon, was written off Empire. Creator Lee Daniels confirmed in June that he would not return for the sixth and final season on FX, though showrunner Brett Mahoney said last month that his character could make one last appearance.

“It would be weird in my mind to end this family show and this family drama of which he was such a significant part of without seeing him,” Mahoney told TV Line.

“It’s fair to say it’s being discussed, but there’s no plan as of yet to bring him back,” Mahoney added. “There’s been no decision made.”

Empire returns to Fox in spring 2020.