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Jussie Smollett case takes dramatic new twist just hours after police arrest two 'persons of interest'

"Due to new evidence..."

Leon Bennett/Getty Images

Just hours after Chicago police arrested two Nigerian brothers named "persons of interest" in the ongoing Jussie Smollett assault saga, a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department announced the brothers have been released from custody.

What are the details?

The brothers, who police apprehended at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport Wednesday as they re-entered the United States, were released from police custody late Friday night. They were not charged with any crimes.

CPD spokesman Anthony said investigators were compelled to release the brothers after new evidence surfaced.

"Due to new evidence as a result of today's interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the 'Empire' case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete," Guglielmi said in a statement.

Additionally, police no longer consider the brothers "suspects" in the case. Their release comes one day after police raided the Chicago apartment the men shared. Investigators did not reveal whether they discovered evidence linking the men to the alleged crime.

The brothers — who are acquaintances of Smollett and have ties to "Empire," the hit TV show Smollett stars in — had been booked on suspicion of assault and battery, TMZ reported Friday.

Is the assault a hoax?

Smollett alleges he was attacked early on the morning of Jan. 29. He told police two masked men — who he originally said were white — attacked him, yelled homophobic and racial slurs at him, tied a rope around his neck, and poured a chemical substance on him.

According to WLS-TV, "multiple sources" have said police are investigating the possibility the attack was staged. However, police publicly deny that fact, citing a lack of evidence to suggest a hoax.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told WLS investigators still currently consider Smollett a victim.

One last thing…
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