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.
"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 Post on Sunday.
Smollett's music manager, Brandon Z. Moore, told ABC News he was on the phone with Smollett during the alleged January 29 attack and heard a "scuffle" and a "racial slur", but Smollett initially refused to release his phone to cops so they could verify the claim.
Of the edits to the phone records, he has this to say: "Any redacted information was meant to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack".
Although police have since asked for help from the public in identifying two persons of interest from surveillance recordings near the site of the attack near the time it occurred.
Still, Guglielmi said the records Smollett provided are indicative of his willingness to cooperate and the department will be following up with Smollett's team for additional data.
Investigators requested phone records from both men, but they were given a redacted document file and a cellphone screenshot of phone calls.
"I don't believe it happened the way he said it did", Chicago resident Agin Muhammad told the Post.
The assailants allegedly punched Smollett in the face, doused him with a liquid - believed to be bleach - and tied a rope round around his neck in an underpass between the Sheraton and Loews Chicago hotels. "Despite my frustrations and deep concern with certain inaccuracies and misrepresentations that have been spread, I still believe that justice will be served".
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters that if police suspect Smollett's story is a hoax, he will be held accountable. "They have cameras everywhere".
He later submitted the redacted phone records that detectives have judged to be "insufficient".
Late Monday evening, ABC7 Chicago reported that an empty hot sauce bottle that smelled like bleach was found near the location of the alleged attack.
Another anonymous individual, who says he's a regular at a nearby bar says, "It's a lie, because Chicago is the most liberal city around". They have yet to locate footage of the actual attack.
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