Smollett insists he has cooperated in police attack probe
CHICAGO -- Actor Jussie Smollett on Tuesday dismissed any suggestion that he has been less than cooperative with police since the star of the "Empire" television drama reported he was attacked by two masked men in Chicago last month.
Smollett's representatives issued a statement a day after police said the heavily redacted phone records he turned over to detectives this week were insufficient for a criminal investigation.
"Jussie is the victim here, which has been stated by the Superintendent of Police," Smollett said. "Jussie has voluntarily provided his phone records from within an hour of the attack and given multiple statements to police."
The statement said Smollett had a good reason for turning over what police called a redacted file.
"Any redacted information was intended to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack," according to the statement.
The statement is the latest in a back-and-forth between Smollett and police since he reported the attack took place on Jan. 29. Police have made no arrests and said they have found no surveillance video that shows the attack. They released video of two people in the area at the time who they said were persons of interest.
Smollett and his family have insisted that he has been truthful about the attack and his story has not changed since it happened.
Smollett, who is black and openly gay, told police that his attackers doused him with an unknown chemical substance, shouted racial and homophobic slurs at him before looping what police said was a thin rope tied like a noose around his neck. Smollett also told detectives that before they ran off, the attackers yelled "This is MAGA country, " a reference to the "Make America Great Again" slogan President Donald Trump uses.
Police have collected video surveillance footage from cameras in the downtown area and have also extended their search to stores in the area in the hopes of gathering evidence on who might have purchased the rope.