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Report: Jussie Smollett Case Takes Major Turn As Sources Claim It Was Staged

REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

The Jussie Smollett case appeared to take a major turn Thursday, when multiple media outlets reported that he was being questioned by police.

A number also alleged that he and the two “persons of interest” — who were also reportedly being questioned — may have staged the attack after learning that “his character was being written out of the show ‘Empire.'” (RELATED: Alec Baldwin Arrested For Alleged Assault)

Several reports indicated that it was the heavily-redacted phone records that tipped police off that something wasn’t right. Smollett had turned in his phone records to provide evidence of the attack, but had removed a number of calls prior to handing them over. (RELATED: Man Attacked At Cheesecake Factory For Wearing MAGA Hat Speaks Out)

Sources also claimed that the attack was likely orchestrated by Smollett.

However, until evidence proves otherwise, police have stated that Smollett is still considered to be a victim. They also said that, thus far, the actor has cooperated with authorities.

As previously reported, police wanted Smollett to re-submit his phone records, after the first ones he provided were a “heavily redacted” PDF of his call log.

Chicago Police told Page Six on Tuesday the records he provided for the investigation into his alleged attack were “limited and redacted” and “insufficient for a criminal investigation,” and that they needed something “more concrete.”

“We need something a little more concrete and direct if we’re going to be able to say for a fact the conversation occurred,” Chicago police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi told the outlet, in reference to a conversation the actor said he had with his manager during the alleged attack.

“We don’t believe this is the case at all, but when anyone hands over a redacted and limited record like a PDF of a phone bill, for example, those records could be manipulated,” he added. “We don’t believe they are, but we have to be able to hold up to the standards of a criminal court … [the records] don’t meet the burden for a criminal investigation.”

Chris Bastardi, a spokesperson for Smollett, explained that the redacted records were “intended to protect the privacy of personal contacts or high-profile individuals not relevant to the attack.”

The developments come on the heels of reports that police were seeking “people of interest” after the “Empire” star told authorities he was attacked by masked men near his home last month in Chicago.

“The victim goes to Subway just after midnight and on his way back, he was attacked by two men,” Guglielmi stated. “They were masked and wearing black clothing. They called him an Empire … and they used a homophobic slur. They also used the N-word. They proceed to assault him, and they throw a chemical on him that may have been bleach, and put a rope around neck.”

Smollett told police at the time of the attack that he was on the phone with his manager, Brandon Z. Moore, who told police that he heard the racist and homophobic slurs. Police, therefore, need the phone records to corroborate the two accounts of what allegedly occurred.