31.1.19

Chicago police say 'Empire' actor J Smollett refuses to hand over cellphone to them

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CHICAGO — "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett has refused to turn over his cellphone to detectives, who are investigating the alleged attack that sent him to the hospital earlier this week, Chicago police said Thursday.

The actor declined to share telephone records that could show he was speaking with his manager just as the alleged assault happened early Tuesday morning in Chicago, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told NBC News.


Smollett has told police he was confronted by two men who allegedly hurled racist and homophobic slurs just before they beat him up. They are investigating the case as a possible hate crime.

The manager has told police he heard the attackers say, "This is MAGA country," during the assault, officials said.

When police asked Smollett for his cellphone and records to confirm the call, he refused to share them, according to Guglielmi.

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