Two men arrested as potential suspects in the attack of Empire star Jussie Smollett were released on Friday without charge. The two men were released after “new evidence” arose during their questioning pointing to their innocence. Now, CNN and Deadline report that the Chicago Police investigating the case believe Smollett paid the men to assault him. According to two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation, the two men were released based on this information.

Smollett has denied playing any role in his attack. In the initial January report, he claimed that the two men had been “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs,” with one putting a rope around his neck and pouring an unknown chemical substance on him.

Smollett’s attorneys issued a statement Saturday night denying claims that he hired the men to attack him. “As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered an devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with,” the statement reads. “He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.”

The statement also notes that Smollett will continue to comply with the investigation, and expects to be updated by Chicago police on the evolving status of their investigation. “At the present time, Jussie and his attorneys have no inclination to respond to ‘unnamed’ sources inside of the investigation, but will continue discussions through official channels,” the statement continues. Read the full statement below via Deadline.

As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with. He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.

One of these purported suspects was Jussie’s personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video. It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie’s complicity.

Jussie and his attorneys anticipate being further updated by the Chicago Police Department on the status of the investigation and will continue to cooperate. At the present time, Jussie and his attorneys have no inclination to respond to “unnamed” sources inside of the investigation, but will continue discussions through official channels.