By Paulina Dedaj, Matt Finn
Published February 12, 2019
Jussie Smollett's crisis manager defended the "Empire" actor on Tuesday, saying police have found his account of an alleged attack and possible hate crime to be “consistent and credible” -- after detectives said redacted phone records meant to corroborate his story were “insufficient.”
Smollett, who is black and openly gay, told police that while walking home to his apartment earlier this month, he was accosted by two men who hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him. He said the two men beat him and poured an “unknown chemical substance” on him.
According to a police report, responding officers found the 36-year-old with a white rope hanging from his neck.
Smollett initially told police that during the attack he was on the phone with his manager, and his manager claims to have heard part of the attack - making him the only known witness.
Smollett's crisis manager, Chris Bastardi, told Fox News: “Jussie is the victim here, which has been stated by the Superintendent of Police. Jussie has voluntarily provided his phone records from within an hour of the attack and given multiple statements to police. Chicago PD has repeatedly informed us that they find Jussie's account of what happened that night consistent and credible. Superintendent Johnson has been clear from Day 1 that Jussie is a victim.
Smollett did not initially submit his phone records to investigators when asked but later submitted a redacted version that detectives have judged to be “insufficient.”
Bastardi told Fox News that any redacted information was "intended to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack.”
"We are continuing to work closely with the Chicago PD and remain confident that they will find Jussie's attackers and bring them to justice," he continued.
A neighbor claimed to have seen a “redneck” with a rope but Chicago police were unable to find video surveillance from the area to support this. The description of the “redneck” did not match Smollett’s description of his attackers.
Fox News’ Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.