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Saturday June 6th, 2020 11:54PM

'Empire' actor defends himself in 1st comments since attack

By The Associated Press
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CHICAGO (AP) — "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett is disputing rumors circulating on social media that he has been less than cooperative with the investigation into a racially-charged attack in which he says two masked men beat him and wrapped a rope around his neck in downtown Chicago.

In his first public statement since the attack early Tuesday, the black and gay actor said in a news release that he has been completely honest and "consistent on every level" with the police. He also said he is grateful for the outpouring of support he's received.

Police are searching for surveillance footage of the attack, but they say video does show Smollett returning home with a rope around his neck just after he says he was beaten.

Several LGBTQ and black activist groups are planning to hold a rally in New York City on Friday evening for Smollett and other LGBTQ survivors of violent crime.

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