Empire Actor Refuses to Turn Over Phone Records to Chicago PD

Jussie Smollett poses on the red carpet before the 47th Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony in New York, June 9, 2016. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

Chicago police have requested Empire actor Jussie Smollett’s phone records in order to substantiate his manager’s claim that they were speaking on the phone when Smollett was viciously attacked early Tuesday morning, but Smollett has reportedly refused to turn them over.

Smollett claims he was leaving a Subway sandwich shop around 2 a.m. Tuesday when two assailants began beating him, placed a noose around his neck, and poured an “unknown chemical substance” on him — all while shouting racist and homophobic slurs. After initially sharing just those details with the police following the attack, Smollett later told the authorities that the assailants shouted “this is MAGA country” before fleeing, after that claim appeared in a TMZ account of the incident.

Smollett’s manager, Brandon Moore, who was with his client at a Chicago apartment when the police arrived, claims he was speaking with Smollett on the phone during the attack and overheard many of the racist and homophobic comments Smollett recounted.

“I heard that clearly. I heard the scuffle and I heard the racial slur,” Moore told Variety when asked if he heard the alleged “MAGA country” comment.

But Smollett and Moore now refuse to turn the records of their calls over to the police.

After reviewing hundreds of hours of private surveillance footage captured by area businesses, the police announced Tuesday night that they have been unable to find any footage of the alleged attack. They have, however, identified a “person of interest.”

The attack, which is being treated as a “possible hate crime” by the authorities, has drawn the condemnation of a number of high-profile Democrats, who have cited the incident as an example of a broader trend of rising political violence.

Smollett, 36, began publicly disparaging Trump as early as 2011 and has more recently labeled the president and his supporters racists on his personal Twitter account.

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