As we reported on Sunday, something was very fishy about Ryan Lochte‘s ‘did he or didn’t he’ get robbed story, and now a Brazilian judge has got the same problems we did. The judge actually ordered Lochte and Jimmy Feigen to say in Rio three days after they said they were robbed at gunpoint.
Lochte’s attorney told media outlets that his client was already back in the United States as of Tuesday. It was rather convenient, but as we predicted, questions quickly popped up, and any smart attorney would advise their client to get out of dodge quick. (Naturally, we’re not saying that’s how it went down, but it would be a smart move.)
I do believe that something happened that the swimmers and the Olympic committee thought could either embarrass or taint them, but we’ll see as time goes on.
Judge Keyla Blank said she based her ruling on inconsistencies in the testimony of the two swimmers, who said they and two teammates were robbed at gunpoint after a late night out.
Blank wrote in her filing that there were questions about a gap between when the swimmers said they left France House and arrived at the athletes’ village. The swimmers said they departed France House at about 4 a.m., while a surveillance video showed they checked back in to the athlete’s village at 6:56 a.m., the judge wrote. Such a trip during early morning hours would take 30 to 40 minutes. She also indicated that images from FranceHouse indicate a different time of departure than the one the men allege.
She said they did not appear to be physically or psychologically shaken by the alleged crime. “They arrived with their psychological and physical integrity unshaken,” she wrote, also noting that the swimmers appeared to be joking with each other and did not appear to be upset. She watched surveillance video of the swimmers arriving at the athletes village.
The judge wrote that she ordered the two swimmers’ passports seized and that both men remain in Brazil because investigators need more time to determine whether they are guilty of filing a false police report.
Under Brazilian law, filing a false police report can lead to six months detention or a fine.
The U.S. Olympic Committee said police had further questions for the swimmers but that no athletes had been detained Wednesday morning.
“The swim team moved out of the village after their competition ended, so we were not able to make the athletes available,” USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement. “Additionally, as part of our standard security protocol, we do not make athlete travel plans public and therefore cannot confirm the athletes’ current location.”
Police visited the athletes’ village in Rio Wednesday, hoping to seize the passports of Ryan Lochte and James Feigen as part of an inquiry into Lochte’s report that he was the victim of a robbery — a crime that has since been called into question.
“Local police arrived at the Olympic Village” this morning, according to a statement from the U.S. Olympic Committee, “and asked to meet with Ryan Lochte and James Feigen and collect their passports in order to secure further testimony from the athletes.”
In a follow-up email to our initial exchange, Ostrow says that Lochte “gave a witness statement under oath” to police while he was in Rio. He adds, “Since that time, they have not reached out to either Ryan nor me to ask for additional information in connection with their investigation.”
The police visit came as questions have intensified around Lochte’s account from this past weekend when he told NBC that he and three other swimmers — including Feigen — were robbed after a taxi they were traveling in was stopped by thieves posing as police.
As you might recall, Lochte’s description included this line: “I put my hands up, I was like ‘whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cell phone, he left my credentials.”
But police have had trouble verifying that version of events — and a video recently emerged that purportedly shows Lochte and his fellow swimmers returning to the athletes’ village on the night in question, passing through a security checkpoint where a surveillance camera filmed their movements.
When that video was published on The Daily Mail’s website, it was initially described as showing how Lochte “and his shaken teammates slunk back into the Athletes Village after a night of partying ended in a chilling gunpoint robbery.”
But a close viewing of the video shows that Lochte and his friends were wearing their watches when they returned — and that they put their cellphones and other belongings into baskets at the security gate. Here in Rio, the video intensified questions about whether thieves would neglect to take cellphones — a valuable commodity.
The group of swimmers also seemed to be relaxed and joking, rather than looking shaken up by a crime, the O Globo news site reports.
After news of the apparent robbery had spread this past Sunday, Lochte issued a statement in which he thanked his family and fans for their concern. He added, “what is most important is that we are safe and unharmed.”
As for where the swimmers are now, the U.S. Olympic Committee says Lochte and Feigen left the Olympic Village along with the rest of the swim team, following the end of their competitions in Rio.
We’re not certain where Feigen is today; the USOC cites its standard security protocol in saying, “We do not make athlete travel plans public and therefore cannot confirm the athletes’ current location.”
Another interesting point is that many are trying to blame Brazil for attempting to hold these athletes in a public relations attempt. I would normally agree, but if Ryan Lochte, the IOC and the Olympic Committe hadn’t blatantly lied and said that he had not been robbed after his mother told the media, it would have been a different story. As many before will say, when you cry to cover something up and lie (allegedly), it always comes back to bite you in the butt.
Ryan Lochte seems to be doing the same thing as he did after the London Olympics. Pulling stunts that make everyone forget about his amazing Olympic achievement as he taints himself with actions like this. I hope I’m wrong, but something seems very very fishy about this whole story.
Translation of key excerpts in Brazilian judge’s ruling on investigation of U.S. swimmers who say they were robbed at gunpoint:
“Contradictions in the testimonies given by the supposed victims have been identified, in which in one of the testimonies, the victim Ryan Steve Lochte affirms that the athletes, up until now denominated as victims, had been approached by only one armed person who demanded the turning over all of the money in his possession, or, $400 USD, while in another testimony, the supposed victim James Ernst Feigen, affirms that they were approached by some armed people, unable to give a precise number how many carried out the crime, affirming that only one of the persons had a firearm.
Another apparent contradiction is in the time of their exit from the event on the Lagoon and the arrival of the supposed victims at the Olympic Village. The athletes allege that they left the party they were participating in around 4:00 a.m. (which is not confirmed by the images at the location, which indicated a different time) and affirm that the crime happened when they were in the neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca, in the proximities of the Olympic Village, having after the fact gone onward to their lodgings. However, the registry of the entrance of the supposed victims is at 6:56 a.m., as noted on the security cameras at the location, which captured their arrival and what can be deduced from seeing the images on the Olympic Village security cameras is that the supposed victims arrived with their physical and psychological integrity unshaken, even making jokes with each other, denoting that there was not any psychological disturbance inherent to the supposed violence they allege.
The more than tranquil behaviour of the athletes after the supposed violence, added to the other contradictions presented in this investigation, in this examination of the evidence, makes me believe that the Public Ministry (a prosecutorial body) has grounds to go forward, considering that there is a need to carry out further crucial diligences to elucidate the possible practice of the crime False Communication of a Crime … making it imperative the search and apprehension of the passports of Ryan Steve Lochte and James Ernst Feigen, at the moment residents at the Olympic Village, which is located at Av. Salvador Allende 3200, Recreio dos Bandeirantes, in this court’s jurisdiction.