Category: Special Reports

Privacy Advocates Mum on Broad Jussie Smollett Warrants

By Matthew Scott

First of two parts.

Two recent sweeping orders from an Illinois judge in the special investigation of former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett could threaten the digital rights of all Americans, but few privacy advocates would discuss them with Digital Privacy News.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael Toomin in December ordered Google to turn over a year’s worth of digital data and documents from the email accounts of Smollett and his manager, Frank Gatson.

The directives were part of special prosecutor Dan Webb’s probe into a faked hate crime Smollett allegedly orchestrated in Chicago last year to boost his career.

The charges were dropped in March 2019. Smollett, 37, has maintained his innocence.

Toomin’s warrants were exhaustive. They included deleted messages and drafts in the two’s accounts, documents in their Google Drive cloud accounts, and their Google Voice texts.

Other Google data ordered turned over included Smollett’s and Gatson’s call logs, contacts, images, photographs, search and web-browsing histories, and GPS location data.

Toomin mandated Google to provide the data from November 2018 to November 2019.

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