Police said the two men were arrested on Wednesday night after being arrested at the airport.
But in a statement released Friday night, officials from the Chicago Police Department said that "due to new evidence resulting from today's interrogations, questions from people polled by the police in the case of the Empire have now been released[es], and detectives still have investigative work to complete. "
Both are no longer classified as suspects.
The release of the two men followed several hours after the police told ABC News that they were classifying them as potential suspects.
They also put an end to any information containing evidence to qualify the alleged attack as a hoax.
"Although we have not found any video documenting the alleged attack, there is also no evidence to assert that it is a hoax." ", added the police. "The alleged victim cooperates at the present time and continues to be treated as a victim and not as a suspect."
Chicago PD confirmed Thursday that they had identified and interviewed both "people of interest" in the alleged racial attack. One of them has already appeared on "Empire", according to a law enforcement official informed of the investigation.
Police said they were following the two suspects and that they knew who they were "for a while" and that investigators learned that the two were returning Wednesday to Chicago from Nigeria.
The two suspects are US citizens of Nigerian descent, they added.
The detectives also questioned Smollett on Thursday, the official said.
Lawyer Gloria Schmidt, who represents both people of interest, told CBS WBBM radio station in Chicago that her clients had been arrested at the airport O. Hare on Wednesday night and that they were not aware of the attack against Smollett.
"When they found out what had happened to him, they were horrified," said Schmidt. "It's someone they know, it's someone they work with, so they do not want anyone to go through there … They really do not understand." how [police] even got information that linked them to this horrible crime, but they are not guilty. "
Late last month, Smollett, who represents a gay musician in Fox's "Empire", told the police that he had been brutally attacked in what the authorities described as alleged hate crime. .
According to the police, the assailants put the rope around his neck, poured him an unknown substance, probably bleach, and used their hands, feet and teeth as a weapon for him. assault, according to the police. Smollett said the attackers had also shouted "This is a country of MAGA" during the attack.
He was later hospitalized and released, local authorities said.
In his first interview since police said that he had been attacked last month, the singer and actor had told "Good Morning America" that he was sorry when he had learned that people had questioned the details of his story.
"I have to acknowledge lies and hatred, and it's as if I'd said that it was a Muslim, a Mexican or a black, I think the doubters would have me a lot." More than that, "Smollett, 36, told Robin News at ABC News. "And that says a lot about the place we currently occupy in our country."
Before the police identified and interviewed the two people who interested him, Smollett said he believed the two men in the photo released by the police in the days following the attack were the perpetrators.
"I have no doubt in my mind that it's them," said Smollett. "Never done."