Judge Orders US Olympic Swimmers To Stay In Rio Over Robbery Questions
RIO DE JANEIRO - A Brazilian judge has ordered that the passports of American swimmers Ryan Lochte and James Feigen be seized as authorities investigate their claim they were robbed at gunpoint during the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
The office of Judge Keyla Blank confirmed the request Wednesday in a statement, but Rio police did not say whether the order was carried out.
Lochte’s lawyer said Wednesday the swimmer was already back in the United States. Lochte’s dad Steve Lochte told The Associated Press by phone from his Florida home that his son called him Tuesday after arriving in the U.S. The 32-year-old swimmer was going to pick up his car and buy a new wallet to replace the one that he said was stolen from him in the robbery, his father said.
Feigen’s whereabouts could not immediately be confirmed.
The U.S. Olympic Committee said police went to the athletes village Wednesday morning to try to collect the passports, but the swim team had already moved out. Spokesman Patrick Sandusky declined to say whether Lochte and Feigen were still in the country.
“As part of our standard security protocol, we do not make athlete travel plans public and therefore cannot confirm the athletes’ current location,” Sandusky said. “We will continue to cooperate with Brazilian authorities.”
Lochte and three of his teammates say they were robbed at gunpoint in a taxi Sunday morning as they returned to the athletes’ village from a party. The mom of the 32-year-old Lochte said earlier he had been robbed and had his wallet stolen while socializing the night after Olympic swimming events ended.
“I think they’re all shaken up. There were a few of them,” Ileana Lochte said initially of the alleged robbery. “No, they were just, they just took their wallets and basically that was it.”
Lochte himself later corroborated his mom’s account.
“We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over,” Lochte told NBC’s “Today” show. “They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground -- they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn’t do anything wrong, so -- I’m not getting down on the ground.”
“And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, ‘Get down,’ and I put my hands up, I was like ‘whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet -- he left my cellphone, he left my credentials.”
Police have found little evidence so far to support their accounts, and say the swimmers were unable to provide key details in police interviews.
A police official with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press that police cannot find their taxi driver or witnesses. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
Lochte’s attorney, Jeff Ostrow, has said there is no question the robbery happened.
In a statement, Ostrow said: “Ryan is safely back in the United States, with his passport. I have no information about the Brazilian authorities attempting to keep him in Brazil for further investigation. I’m shocked to hear that they would go to such measures as he has been nothing but cooperative with authorities, including sitting for a full interview with the Tourist Police, U.S. State Department, USOC Security, FBI, and anyone else that requested to be present. “
The Associated Press contributed to this report.