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Jussie Smollett Has Sent Chicago Police Redacted Phone Records To Protect "High-Profile Individuals"

Chicago police said that the phone records submitted by Smollett were not "sufficient" for their investigation into a possible hate crime against the Empire actor.

Posted on February 12, 2019, at 5:31 p.m. ET

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Jussie Smollett sent Chicago police his redacted phone records to protect the privacy of his personal contacts and high-profile individuals as authorities continue to investigate his reported attack, the actor's representative said Tuesday.

Smollett, who stars in Fox's Empire as one of the most prominent black gay characters on television, told authorities that he was attacked in the early morning hours of Jan. 29 by two men who yelled racist and anti-gay slurs, hit him in the face, poured a bleach-like chemical on him, and tied a rope around his neck.

Authorities said Smollett also reported that his attackers yelled, "This is MAGA country."

Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

Both Smollett and his music manager, Brandon Z. Moore, have told authorities that they were talking to each other on the phone during the reported attack, but as of Sunday, police said they were unable to independently verify the call.

"We have no reason to doubt the statements, but for a criminal investigation, we need to independently confirm the phone records,” Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the New York Post on Sunday.

Guglielmi told the Post that police had offered to take Smollett's phone to download the data, but that the actor "expressed he couldn't be without his phone for several hours."

However, Chicago police on Monday said that Smollett had submitted "limited and redacted" phone records, but added that they were not "sufficient" for the ongoing investigation.

"The records that were sent to us are not sufficient in a criminal case," a Chicago police spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.

Officials are analyzing the records and would contact Smollett "should additional information be needed," the spokesperson added.

Smollett "voluntarily provided his phone records" within an hour of the attack, his publicist, Peter Larsen, said in a statement Tuesday.

"Any redacted information was intended to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack," the statement said.

Larsen also said the actor has given police "multiple statements" and that investigators have "repeatedly informed us that they find Jussie’s account of what happened that night consistent and credible."

"[Smollett] is still considered a victim," the Chicago police spokesperson said, adding that some reports about police possibly charging the actor for making a false report were inaccurate.

Authorities are also analyzing a hot sauce bottle reportedly containing a clear, bleach-like liquid that was found by a New York Post reporter last week while retracing Smollett's steps during the reported assault.

The police spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that authorities had no information so far that would connect the bottle to the incident.

"[The bottle] was not found the first several times when officers and detectives canvassed the area," the spokesperson said. "We are analyzing it."

The FBI, which is assisting Chicago police, declined to comment on the bottle, as did Smollett's representatives.


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