Police Identify Persons of Interest in Jussie Smollett Case - NBC Chicago

Police Identify Persons of Interest in Jussie Smollett Case

CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the two persons of interest were located Wednesday night and being questioned

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    Smollett Turns Over Phone Records to CPD

    “Empire” star Jussie Smollett handed over redacted phone records to Chicago police Monday.

    (Published Monday, Feb. 11, 2019)

    Chicago police say they have identified two persons of interest in the alleged attack on "Empire" star Jussie Smollett

    CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the two persons of interest were picked up at O'Hare Airport Wednesday night and were being questioned as of Thursday morning. 

    "After a meticulous investigation with the use of advance technology, interviews with the victim and witnesses and transportation records, detectives have identified two persons of interest in the Empire cast member case," police said in a statement. 

    The latest development comes on the same morning Smollett's first television interview since the alleged attack aired. 

    'Empire' Actor Did Not Want to Report Attack: Document

    [CHI] 'Empire' Actor Did Not Want to Report Attack: Document
    "Empire" star Jussie Smollett, who told police he was attacked last month in Chicago, did not want to report the incident but was convinced it was "in the best interest" to do so, according to a police report obtained by NBC 5. Dick Johnson reports.
    (Published Monday, Feb. 4, 2019)

    “We are pleased there is progress in the case and are waiting to hear further details," a spokesperson for Smollett said in a statement. 

    Smollett told police on Jan. 29 that two masked men punched him, subjected him to racist and homophobic insults, threw an "unknown chemical substance" on him and put a thin rope around his neck before fleeing. Smollett's account to detectives included that his attackers yelled that he was in "MAGA country," an apparent reference to the Trump campaign's "Make America Great Again" slogan that some critics of the president have decried as racist and discriminatory.

    The alleged attack occurred in the 300 block of East Lower North Water Street about 2 a.m. as the actor returned home from an early-morning visit to a Subway restaurant, according to the police report.

    Smollett said in the interview that he was left in shock after the incident and inititally didnt want to report it to police.

    "I was looking at myself, just like checking myself out. I saw the bruise on my neck, you know, like the little -- the rope burn around my neck," he said. "So when the police came I kept the clothes on, I kept the rope on me... I mean, it wasn't, like, wrapped around. But, yeah, it was around because I wanted them to see."

    Smollett said he's "pissed off" not just by the attack itself but by those questioning his story. 

    Smollett Speaks Out for First Time After Alleged Attack

    [CHI] Jussie Smollett Speaks Out for First Time After Alleged Attack

    For the first time, actor Jussie Smollett spoke out Friday about the attack that drew national headlines this week. NBC 5's Ash-har Quraishi has more. 

    (Published Friday, Feb. 1, 2019)

    "For me, the main thing was the idea that I somehow switched up my story, you know? And that somehow maybe I added a little extra trinket, you know, of the MAGA thing," Smollett said. "I didn't need to add anything like that. They called me a f-----, they called me a n------. There's no which way you cut it. I don't need some MAGA hat as the cherry on top of some racist sundae."

    The Chicago police report lists the weapon in the alleged attack as "hand, feet, teeth, etc." 

    "He is a victim," Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson recently said of Smollett. "And we treat him like a victim. He's been very cooperative."

    Hours of surveillance video from multiple cameras in the area where Smollett says the attack happened have been reviewed. 

    Smollett handed over redacted phone records to Chicago police Monday, but authorities said the records "do not meet the burden for a criminal investigation as they were limted and heavily redacted." 

    A representative for Smollett said the redacted records were to protect the privacy of his contacts.

    Chicago Police Continue to Investigate Smollett Case

    [CHI] Chicago Police Continue to Investigate Smollett Case

    Details are slowly emerging surrounding the reported attack on "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett. Chicago police revealed new information on what they've found, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and President Donald Trump both have weighed in on the alleged attack. NBC 5's Ash-har Quraishi has the story. 

    (Published Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019)

    "They wanted me to give my phone to the tech for three to four hours. I'm sorry but -- I'm not gonna do that," Smollett said in the interview. "Because I have private pictures and videos and numbers: my partner's number, my family's number, my castmate's number, my friends' numbers, my private emails, my private songs, my private voice memos."

    Only one image has been released of possible "persons of interest."

    "I don't have any doubt in my mind that that's them," Smollett said. "Never did."

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