Jussie Smollett and his music manager, Brandon Z. Moore, refused police requests to turn over their phones to confirm Moore’s statement that he heard Smollett being attacked early Tuesday morning.
ABC’s Chicago affiliate ABC7 confirmed with two Chicago PD sources that Smollett and Moore refused requests to turn over their phones.
Police have the option of obtaining a search warrant to access Smollett’s and Moore’s phone records.
Smollett, 36, told police he was attacked by two masked men near downtown Chicago around 2:30 a.m. He said the men yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him, beat him, tied a “noose” around his neck, and threw bleach on him.
Moore told police and Variety magazine that he was on the phone with Smollett and overheard the attackers yelling, “This is MAGA country.”
On Thursday, President Trump responded to a reporter’s question about the alleged attack, saying, “I can tell you that it’s horrible. It doesn’t get worse.”
On Wednesday night, police released images from a surveillance camera that shows two shadowy figures walking away from the scene of the alleged attack about 30-45 minutes before the attack allegedly occurred.
Police described the 2 people as “persons of interest” who may have information about the alleged attack.
After reviewing hundreds of hours of video footage, investigators compiled a timeline of the route Smollett took from his downtown Chicago hotel to a Subway restaurant and then from the restaurant to Moore’s apartment in a luxury condo highrise.
According to investigators, Smollett was spotted on video footage as he approached the apartment building. He walked out of the frame on one camera and another camera picked him up less than a minute later.
Rob Elgas, a reporter for ABC7, tweeted: “The next time Smollett is seen on surveillance camera, he is entering a condo building. Police say he now has a rope around his neck and is “wearing it like a neck tie”. About a minute (maybe less) has passed since he was seen on video.”
A camera on Moore’s landing shows Smollett entering Moore’s apartment. Smollett was still wearing the small rope looped around his neck when police arrived to the apartment about 40 minutes later. Police described the rope as “a clothesline, straight out of the package.”
In related news, a neighbor of Moore’s told TMZ she saw a “redneck” holding a rope while loitering outside the condo building when she went out to walk her dog around 12:15 a.m.
She said the man was dressed in a blue zipped hoodie, a blue beanie, thick hunting socks and camel-colored lace up shoes in sub-zero temperatures. She said he stared at another man standing outside another entrance.