Olympian Lochte Changes Story About Alleged Robbery

| by Jonathan Constante
Surveillance footage show Olympians still in possession of their valuables.Surveillance footage show Olympians still in possession of their valuables.

Two U.S. Olympic swimmers were removed from a plane by Brazilian police to further investigate an alleged robbery.

The incident occurred on Aug. 17. Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, who were both with Ryan Lochte and Jimmy Feigen when they were allegedly robbed at gunpoint on Aug. 14 by suspects dressed as police officers, were removed from a plane so authorities could continue their investigation, NBC News reported.

Detective Alexandre Braga said Bentz and Conger had their passports “temporarily confiscated by a court order.” U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky said the two swimmers had been released “with the understanding that they would continue their discussions about the incident on Thursday.”

Lochte had already left Brazil. He is in the U.S. while fellow Olympian Jimmy Feigen is still in Brazil cooperating with the investigation. Brazilian Judge Keyla Blanc de Cnop said Lochte and Feigen gave contradictory accounts of the robbery.

Lochte and Feigen said the robbery took place around 4 a.m. as they were heading home from a club, but surveillance video showed them leaving at a different time, according to Blanc de Cnop.

The judge added that Lochte said there was only one robber, while Feigen claimed there were more, and that one of the suspects had a gun.

In an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer, Lochte said he told police he would cooperate, but was never told to stay in Brazil. When Lauer asked Lochte if parts of the story were fabricated, Lochte  “strongly denied that.”

"I wouldn't make up a story like this nor would the others -- as a matter of fact we all feel it makes us look bad," Lauer said, quoting Lochte. "We're victims in this and we're happy that we're safe."

State Department spokesman John Kirby confirmed that the U.S. government is aware of the situation.

“We have seen media reports that two U.S. citizen athletes were detained,” Kirby said in a statement. “We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance.”

Lauer said a few details changed in Lochte’s story from when he spoke about the robbery to Billy Bush on the "Today" show on Aug. 14 to when they had their interview a few days later. The Olympian originally said the gun was pointed against his forehead, but Lauer said Lochte told him the gun was pointed in his general direction and was cocked.

Lochte also originally said their taxi was pulled over by the suspects. Lauer said Lochte told him that when they got into the taxi, the driver didn’t move, and that’s when the suspects approached the car and forced them onto the ground.

Authorities have found little evidence to support Lochte’s and Feigen’s story, according to the Daily Mail. Security video also shows them returning to the Olympic village still in possession of their valuables.

Jeff Ostrow, Lochte’s attorney, said his client was never asked to stay in Brazil. He accused Brazilian authorities of trying “save face” and turning the entire ordeal into “a circus.”

“They never said, ‘Stay around,’” Ostrow said in a statement. “Otherwise, I would have advised Ryan to stay.”

Sources: NBC News, Daily Mail / Photo credit: Instagram via Daily Mail

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