The Chicago Police Department has opened an internal investigation into possible information leaking from the police force during the course of the Jussie Smollett case, reports TMZ.
Sergeant Rocco Alioto, a Chicago PD spokesperson, released a statement about the investigation.
“I would like to point out that a lot of the information out there was inaccurate and there were numerous agencies involved in this investigation,” Ailoto said.
“As a standard procedure when there are allegations of information being leaked, an internal investigation has been opened and we are also looking at our vulnerabilities.”
Smollett originally claimed he was the target of a racist and homophobic assault carried out by two men. However, in late January he was officially labeled a suspect and indicted on a disorderly conduct felony charge for filing a false police report after two brothers, Olabingo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, cooperated with police and revealed that he had paid them to carry out the attack.
The Chicago PD has encountered some criticism for the manner in which they have dealt with Smollett’s case, particularly because of the amount of information disclosed from police sources.
Smollett maintains his innocence and hired celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos to represent him. Geragos has a star-studded client list that includes Michael Jackson and Colin Kaepernick.
Geragos claimed the police department leaks were an attempt to slander the actor’s reputation. The lawyer previously appeared on CNN and expressed to Anderson Cooper why the Chicago Police Department leaks were concerning.
“Any time you get law enforcement drip-drip-drip leaks, that to me is a telltale sign that something else is going on here,” he said. “I haven’t seen anything except leaks according to law enforcement sources. To me, that screams out somebody is trying to manipulate something.”
Other problems for the Smollett case arose at the Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago where several employees have been fired for accessing Smollett’s hospital records. Deadline reported that reports show that some of the workers claim they only scrolled past the records and didn’t look at them.
Being a celebrity in a highly publicized criminal case likely placed Smollett’s medical records at considerable risk of being compromised. In 2008, UCLA Medical Center fired at least 13 employees and suspended at least six others for going through Britney Spears’s medical records while she was hospitalized in its psychiatric unit.
Smollett was treated at Northwestern’s emergency room on January 29 after the alleged attack in downtown Chicago. He is due back in court later this month.