By Katrina Dizon 02/15/2019
Two men who were arrested Friday in connection with the alleged hate crime that was reported late January against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett have been released.
According to Chicago police, the potential suspects were brothers and one of them previously appeared on “Empire.”
Tom Ahern, Deputy Director of Communications at the Chicago Police Dept., announced on Twitter that, “Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released.”
He also added that detectives had additional investigative work to do, but did not go into specifics.
Chicago police raided the brothers’ home on Wednesday, where they found a red hat, bleach, an Empire script, and a black face mask hat.
Police arrested the brothers on the same day at O’Hare International Airport as the brothers were returning from a trip to Nigeria. They were in custody at Area Central detective headquarters and were questioned.
The brothers’ attorney Gloria Schmidt denied that they assaulted Smollett and were unaware of the attack. “When they first learned about what happened to him they were horrified. This is someone they know. This is someone they’ve worked with, so they don’t want to see somebody go through that,” Schmidt said.
Neighbors of the brothers said they lived there for years and described them as “friendly.”
Late last month, Smollett reported to police that he was attacked in downtown Chicago while getting food at a nearby Subway.
The actor, who is gay and black, said he was attacked by two men who “yelled racist and homophobic slurs,” tied a noose around his neck and poured an unknown substance on him during the attack.
In an exclusive interview with Good Morning America, Smollett said he was convinced that the images released by the police of the potential suspects caught on surveillance video were his attackers.
“I don’t have any doubt in my mind that that’s them, never did,” Smollett said.