An appellate court in Brazil has cleared Ryan Lochte of criminal charges after he exaggerated the details of an alleged robbery during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Us Weekly confirms.
According to USA Today, the appeals court concluded on Thursday, July 13, that the competitive swimmer, 32, did not break Brazilian law because the investigation was initiated by Rio police, not him. Lochte’s interview with NBC, in which he claimed he and three other members of the U.S. swim team had been robbed at gunpoint in Rio, did not constitute a false report, the court decided.
“We are pleased that the court has finally dismissed the criminal prosecution against Mr. Lochte, while also acknowledging that he committed no crime while in Brazil,” the athlete’s attorney Jeff Ostrow said in a statement to Us. “We are hopeful that the prosecution accepts the court’s decision so that this story can finally be put to rest.”
USA Today reported that prosecutors have 15 days to challenge the ruling. Lochte had been charged with falsely communicating a crime to authorities after his controversial NBC interview.
When the scandal first made headlines last summer, the six-time Olympic gold medalist claimed that he, Jimmy Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were returning to Olympic Village after a night of partying when they were robbed by a group of armed men pretending to be police officers. Days later, Rio authorities said during a press conference that the U.S. swimmers had vandalized the Shell gas station’s restroom, citing surveillance video footage.
Lochte subsequently admitted that he “definitely had too much to drink” the night of the incident, adding that he was still intoxicated when he exaggerated the story on NBC the next morning. The United States Olympic Committee suspended Lochte for 10 months in September and ordered him to perform community service.
Since then, it’s been nothing but good news for the Olympian. He finished in seventh place on season 23 of Dancing With the Stars in late 2016. And this June, Us Weekly exclusively confirmed that he and fiancée Kayla Rae Reid welcomed a baby boy named Caiden Zane.
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