One day after Chicago police said Empire star Jussie Smollett gave them “redacted” phone records, his reps released a statement insisting the actor is “continuing to work closely” with detectives investigating the alleged racist and homophobic attack on the star last month.
Investigators requested Smollett’s phone logs to verify he was talking to his manager during the January attack, as the two have said.
The New York Post reported on Monday, Feb. 11, that Smollett had “finally provided his phone records to the Chicago Police Department on Monday morning.”
A spokesperson for the actor issued a statement to The Post Monday, saying the manager’s phone records were sent to police on Feb. 5, “and Jussie’s records were sent over this morning. Both were sent to Chief of Staff to the Superintendent of Police Robert Boik, who confirmed receipt.”
However, a Chicago police spokesman said Smollett’s phone logs were rejected because they were sent over as a document file, instead of original phone company logs, and the records had been altered.
They “do not meet the burden for a criminal investigation as they were limited and heavily redacted,” Sgt. Rocco Alioto told USA Today.
As questions intensified about whether Smollett is fully cooperating with investigators, his spokesperson issued a new statement Tuesday.
“Jussie is the victim here, which has been stated by the Superintendent of Police,” the statement said. “Jussie has voluntarily provided his phone records from within an hour of the attack and given multiple statements to police. Chicago PD has repeatedly informed us that they find Jussie’s account of what happened that night consistent and credible.”
The statement went on to say the phone records were redacted for privacy.
“Any redacted information was intended to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack,” the statement said.
Smollett, who is African-American and openly gay, told police he was walking down the street in Chicago on the morning of Jan. 29, when two men approached him and started yelling racial and homophobic slurs. He said the attackers beat him, doused him with a chemical and wrapped a rope around his neck.
Smollett told detectives the attackers yelled “This is MAGA country,” referring to President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
Police have said the area where the alleged attack occurred is surrounded by surveillance cameras. They previously issued a statement saying they had been unable to find footage on the cameras of the attack.
Over the past two weeks, the story has taken a series of turns, prompting additional questions. Smollett and his family have insisted he is telling the truth and his account of the incident has not changed.