Chicago Police Questioning Persons of Interest in Jussie Smollett Attack

Watch Jussie Smollett Cries in First Interview Since Alleged Attack		ABC13 Feb 2019

He said a masked attacker yelled, "This MAGA country, [censored]" and punched him, and then Smollett punched back.

"So I punched his ass back", Smollett told Robin Roberts in the interview that aired Thursday on "Good Morning America".

An interview clip was posted online.

Smollett tells ABC News it's "ridiculous" to think he'd lie in his explanation for being outside at 2 a.m.in frigid Chicago weather.

Police asked for Smollett's phone records because he said he was on a call with his manager, Brandon Z. Moore, during the attack.

Detectives used surveillance camera footage to identify the pair, whose names have not been released, as they investigated an attack that Smollett said occurred on January 29, when two men shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him and put a rope around his neck.

Smollett said he receives social media threats "all the time", adding, "I'm a public figure, I'm very outspoken".

The statement, of course, carefully avoids the TMZ report's specific language, which claims Chicago Police merely found the reports unhelpful in their investigation, not incorrect, rejected, or concerning.

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"While he was on the phone I heard, I was crossing the intersection, I heard 'Empire!,' Smollett told Roberts".

"It became a thing of like, 'Oh, It's not necessarily that you don't believe that this is the truth, you don't even want to see the truth, '" he said. Authorities released photos of persons of interest, but they also haven't found footage of Smollett's entire walk back home. Police said at the time that while the video "does not capture an encounter, detectives are taking this development seriously and wish to question individuals as more cameras are being reviewed".

"We live in a society where as a gay man we are considered to be weak", Smollett said. "Then it just stopped and they ran off".

A second attacker, Smollett said, started kicking him in the back. It was after hearing homophobic and racial slurs that he turned around and confronted a man in a ski mask.

"I've heard that it was a date gone bad, which I so resent that narrative", Smollett said.

"I understand how hard it will be to find them, but we got to", he added. On Monday, Chicago police told reports that the phone records handed over by Smollett were heavily redacted, and therefore did not meet the burden of a criminal investigation. I noticed the rope and I started screaming. "I don't have any doubt in my mind that that's them".

"I don't know what that's gonna be, to hand over my phone for - and honestly, by then, inaccurate, false statements had already been put out there", Jussie added. Number two: I want them to stop being able to say "allegedly".

Smollett said he gave a body description of his alleged attackers as best as he could because he doesn't have details such as eye color.

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