Friday, February 23, 2018
Sports

Doubts cast in Lochte case

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Two American swimmers were taken off their flight from Brazil by local authorities amid an investigation into a reported robbery involving Ryan Lochte and three teammates, the U.S. Olympic Committee said Wednesday night.

"Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were removed from their flight to the United States by Brazilian authorities," USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said. "We are gathering further information."

Lochte said he was with Conger, Bentz and Jimmy Feigen when they were robbed at gunpoint in a taxi early Sunday by men pretending to be police officers as they returned to the Athletes Village from a party, several hours after the last Olympic swimming events were held. Police said they have found little evidence to support their accounts.

Feigen was also supposed to be on the Wednesday flight but didn't show up at the airport, NBC reported.

A Brazilian judge earlier in the day issued an order to prevent Lochte and Feigen from leaving the country as doubts emerged about their statements. But Lochte, a 12-time Olympic medalist, had left Brazil before the judge issued the order to seize the passports of the swimmers, Lochte's lawyer, Jeff Ostrow, and his father said. Steve Lochte told the Associated Press by phone from his Florida home that his son called him Tuesday after arriving in the United States.

Investigators said they hadn't found evidence corroborating the account, including witnesses and the taxi driver, news reports said, prompting the judge's order. "You can see the supposed victims arriving without signs of being physically or psychologically shaken, even joking amongst themselves," Judge Keyla Blanc de Cnop said in a statement, referring to video of the swimmers returning to the Athletes Village after the party.

Police also said the swimmers were shaky on the details of what happened because they had been drinking and that others said the athletes had been seen at the party after they said the robbery had occurred.

Ostrow, of Fort Lauderdale, rejected assertions that Lochte and the other swimmers might have fabricated details of their accounts, describing such claims as efforts by Brazilian officials to deflect criticism of problems in Rio.

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