Chicago cops need more phone records from 'Empire' star Jussie Smollett regarding reported attackFebruary 12, 2019 4:46pm

Feb. 12-- CHICAGO-Chicago police on Monday confirmed that representatives for "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett had turned over phone records nearly two weeks after he reported being assaulted by two strangers near his Streeterville apartment.

But a spokesman for police Superintendent Eddie Johnson by late evening said that the records "are not sufficient and do not meet the burden of a criminal investigation," and that police may require more assistance from the actor.

The New York Post's "Page Six" column first reported that phone records for Smollett and his manager, whom he told authorities he was speaking with during the attack, were turned over to Johnson's chief of staff on Monday.

Investigators had sought Smollett's phone records since shortly after he reported the attack Jan. 29 in the 300 block of East North Water Street.

But police described Smollett's phone records as a heavily redacted document file and his manager's records as a screenshot of phone calls that provide limited information to investigators. Chief police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said police were "appreciative" of Smollett's cooperation in providing the records but said detectives will likely need additional data from Smollett to crack the case.

A representative for Smollett wasn't immediately available for comment.

Smollett, 36, a star of the hit Fox drama "Empire" who is black and openly gay, told police he had just left a Subway shop in the Streeterville neighborhood in the early morning hours of Jan. 29 and was walking to his apartment when two men walked up, yelled slurs, hit him and wrapped a rope around his neck while yelling, "This is MAGA country!"

A chemical-maybe bleach-was poured on him, police said. A week earlier, on Jan. 22, witnesses told police a postal worker dropped off a letter at the studio where "Empire" is filmed. It was postmarked in southwest suburban Bedford Park on Jan. 18 and bore two American flag stamps. The letters MAGA were written in the upper-left corner of the envelope.

Police have not said whether they believe the two incidents are related, and so far they are being investigated separately: the letter by the FBI and the alleged attack by Chicago police.

The attack triggered an avalanche of public support from celebrities and a comment from President Donald Trump, as progress in the widely watched case has slowed. Police have not located surveillance video that captured the attack.

Smollett's television program is expected to film scenes downtown this week, but it's unclear whether he will be part of those scenes.

Chicago Tribune's Tracy Swartz contributed.


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