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Two Men Arrested In The Jussie Smollett Case Have Been Released Due To "New Evidence"

A Chicago police spokesperson said the individuals were released "due to new evidence as a result of today's interrogations."

Posted on February 15, 2019, at 11:01 p.m. ET

Jerod Harris / Getty Images

Two men who were arrested Friday in connection with the alleged attack on Empire actor Jussie Smollett have been released after being questioned by police.

Chicago Police Department spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said Friday night that the individuals were released "due to new evidence as a result of today's interrogations."

"Detectives have additional investigative work to complete," Guglielmi tweeted.

Police had classified the two men as "potential suspects" after identifying them as "persons of interest" who were in the area where Smollett said he was attacked in the early morning hours of Jan. 29. Smollett, who is openly gay, told police two men yelled racist and anti-gay slurs, hit him in the face, poured a bleach-like chemical on him, and tied a rope around his neck.

Around 7:30 p.m. local time, the men were still being questioned by police, according to Guglielmi. Less than two hours later, he tweeted that they had been released without being charged.

The two are brothers who worked as extras on Empire and occasionally went to the gym with Smollett, their lawyer, Gloria Schmidt, told CBS Chicago on Thursday.

The brothers were returning from a trip to Nigeria when police detained them at Chicago O'Hare Airport on Wednesday, Schmidt told the local station.

It was not immediately clear what "new evidence" police were looking into Friday. A police spokesperson told BuzzFeed News she did not have any additional information.

In a Good Morning America interview that aired Thursday morning, Smollett said he was "pissed off" that some were doubting his claims because police weren't immediately able to find surveillance footage verifying his report. Others have been critical of his decision to send police redacted phone records that investigators deemed "not sufficient in a criminal case."

"At first it was a thing of like, listen, if I tell the truth then that’s it ’cause it’s the truth,” Smollett said.

Smollett also said he believed the two dark figures seen in grainy surveillance images released by police were the men who attacked him.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.