Chicago police released without charges two Nigerian brothers arrested on suspicion of assaulting Empire actor Jussie Smollett, saying they have new evidence to investigate as a result of questioning them, per a brief statement Friday by Chicago police rep Anthony Guglielmi. He gave no details of the new evidence, per the AP. Smollett, who's black and gay, has said two masked men shouting racial and anti-gay slurs beat him and looped a rope around his neck early on Jan. 29 before running away. He said they also poured some kind of chemical on him. Smollett, 36, said he was out getting food at a Subway sandwich shop in downtown Chicago when the attack happened. A spokeswoman for Smollett said she had no comment on the release of the two men Friday. The two men, identified only as Nigerian brothers, were picked up at Chicago's O'Hare Airport on Wednesday on their return from Nigeria after police learned at least one worked on Empire, Guglielmi said.
He said he didn't know what the man's job was. Guglielmi also said police searched the Chicago apartment where the men lived but that he had no info on what was found. Cops have said they found no surveillance video of an attack but continue to look. Investigators also said they were contacting stores in the hope of finding out who bought the rope that was around Smollett's neck. Police earlier this week said there was "no evidence to say that this is a hoax" and that Smollett "continues to be treated by police as a victim, not a suspect." In an ABC News interview, Smollett said he didn't remove the rope from around his neck before police arrived "because I wanted them to see," and that he initially refused to give police his cellphone because the device contained private content. He later gave cops heavily redacted phone records that police have said are insufficient for an investigation.
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