Another development. Brazilian authorities now believe that Ryan Lochte and three of his U.S. Olympic teammates lied about being robbed at gunpoint in order to cover up an altercation they allegedly were involved in on Sunday, August 14.
“One of the swimmers was seen on CCTV footage breaking down the door to the bathroom at the gas station and fighting with a security guard,” a Brazilian police source told ABC News on Thursday.
ABC reporter Matt Gutman tweeted about the news. “#BREAKING Brazil sources: #RyanLochte + 3 swimmers fabricated robbery story. Video shows swimmer ‘fighting’ w/security at gas station @GMA,” he wrote.
As previously reported, Lochte, 32, alleged that he and his teammates — Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen — were confronted and robbed by a group of people near their cab at a gas station in Rio on Sunday. On Wednesday, Rio officials said that they could find no evidence that the incident ever occurred.
According to the Associated Press, a security guard approached the men when they allegedly broke down the door around 6 a.m. The guard was armed with a pistol, but never took it out. The manager then asked the athletes to pay for the damage and they did. Officials claim that Conger and Bentz said late Wednesday that the robbery story was fabricated.
— Matt Gutman (@mattgutmanABC) August 18, 2016
Lochte, however, denied that the robbery was made up during a phone conversation with the Today show’s Matt Lauer. “‘We wouldn’t make this story up,’” Lauer said on Wednesday, quoting the swimmer. “‘We’re victims in this and we’re happy that we’re safe.’”
“He went out of his way to say that he told them he was reachable, that he would cooperate, they could get to him through his agent or through his lawyer,” Lauer continued. “They did ask him what the gun looked like, what was taken from him. … He seemed somewhat surprised by how few questions they asked him here, considering he just told them he was held up at gunpoint.”
Lochte did alter one detail, however. He initially said the gun was pointed at his forehead, but now says that it was pointed in his direction.
“I think he feels it was more of a traumatic mischaracterization. People listening at home might feel that was embellishment at the time, and that’s up to people to decide,” Lauer added.
Amid the controversy, a Brazilian judge ordered the four athletes’ passports to be seized. Bentz, Conger and Feigen were all detained at a Rio airport and will likely be questioned on Thursday. Lochte, however, is already home in the U.S.
The U.S. Olympic Committee released a statement on the matter. “The three U.S. Olympic swimmers (Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen) are cooperating with authorities and are in the process of scheduling a time and place today to provide further statements to the Brazilian authorities,” spokesperson Patrick Sandusky told Us Weekly on Thursday. “All are represented by counsel and being appropriately supported by the USOC and the U.S. Consulate in Rio.”
The story is developing.
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