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.
Confirmed with two Chicago PD sources that Jussie Smollett and his manager refused a request to turn over phone records to show Smollett's manager was on the phone with Jussie when the attack took place. Its not clear if Chicago PD will move to obtain records independently
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) January 31, 2019
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.
.@JussieSmollett is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know. I’m praying for his quick recovery.
This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 29, 2019
What happened today to @JussieSmollett must never be tolerated in this country. We must stand up and demand that we no longer give this hate safe harbor; that homophobia and racism have no place on our streets or in our hearts. We are with you, Jussie. https://t.co/o8ilPu68CM
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 30, 2019
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.
I think someone should kick Donald Trumps ass… That's all.
— Jussie Smollett (@JussieSmollett) December 15, 2011
.@AOC is only speaking facts. This is so far beyond political party affiliation. Across the world…no matter the border…from sea to shining sea…45 and all his white hooded cohorts are a national disgrace. And if you support them…so are you. Clowns. pic.twitter.com/Qz4uIjF7xa
— Jussie Smollett (@JussieSmollett) January 20, 2019