by Neetu Chandak
The Chicago Police Department (CPD) said “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett and his music manager are not handing over phone records of a conversation that occurred Tuesday morning during an alleged attack.
“Update on the ‘Empire’ Smollett case: The victim and his manager reported that they were talking on their cell phones to each other but CPD has been unable to independently verify this because they refused to turn over their cell phones,” CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a Thursday statement obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Brandon Z. Moore, Smollett’s music manager, said he heard some of the attack while on the phone with Smollett, according to Variety.
“I heard that clearly,” Moore said. “I heard the scuffle and I heard the racial slur.”
TMZ reported Tuesday the attackers were white men wearing ski masks who poured bleach on Smollett and screamed: “This is MAGA (Make America Great Again) country.” Smollett reportedly had a fractured rib as well.
Police said the actor did not initially disclose the “MAGA country” comment, but confirmed it in a second interview.
Guglielmi added Moore claimed in the follow-up interview that he heard the “MAGA country” phrase, ABC7 reported.
A police statement said the incident occurred around 2 a.m. on Tuesday.
Police were notified 40 minutes after the attack and found Smollett in his apartment with cuts and scrapes on his face and the rope around the actor’s neck, according to AP. Smollett asked police to shut down the body cameras as he explained why the rope was around his neck.
Smollett was treated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and was in “good condition,” according to People Tuesday.
Guglielmi said Tuesday evening they could not find video evidence of Smollett getting attacked. Police expanded their search area and found “people of interest” Wednesday, according to a tweet by Guglielmi.
CASE UPDATE: Hours ago #ChicagoPolice detectives located a surveillance camera that shows potential persons of interest wanted for questioning in reference to the assault & battery of Empire actor. A community alert w/ photos is being constructed and will be disseminated shortly. pic.twitter.com/hu3HaPN5h1
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) January 30, 2019
The picture shows two people walking between 1:30 a.m. and 1:45 a.m. in the vicinity where Smollett was allegedly attacked Tuesday, ABC7 reported. Police confirmed Smollett walking across the street from the two people. Cops also found on another camera that looked like Smollett was “wearing a rope like a necktie.”
The investigation is ongoing.
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