U.S. Swim Team member Ryan Lochte faces charges in Rio de Janeiro following his report, which he’s since said was “over-exaggerated” and for which he’s apologized, about being robbed at gunpoint during the Olympics. Meanwhile an investigation has raised questions about whether police there also exaggerated their report of what happened. And while several sponsors have dropped him, he’s picked up a new one.
“The investigation was concluded on Thursday and Olympic American swimmer Ryan Lochte was indicted for the crime of falsely reporting a crime,” the Associated Press reported, citing a statement released by police authorities in Rio.
The indictment will be sent to the International Olympic Committee’s ethics commission, the statement said.
The matter has been “turned over to a special Brazilian court that has jurisdiction over crimes related to major sporting events,” the AP reports. “The court, which was established before Brazil hosted soccer’s 2014 World Cup, is authorized to receive cases straight from the police when lesser charges are involved, without a need for prosecutors.”
He faces up to six months in jail or a fine, the Courier-Mail reports, adding “There is no penalty for him not appearing in front of the Justice Department, but if he doesn’t appear he won’t be able to engage in a plea deal, Detective Clemente Braune said.”
Adds Fox News, “He would either have to appear in person in Brazil or be tried in absentia He cannot testify in the US and would have to appear in person in court in Brazil or be tried in absentia.”
An extensive USA Today investigation has raised questions about authorities’ depictions of what happened.
In a recent news conference held in Rio while the 2016 Olympics were still ongoing, police chief Fernando Veloso described a destructive vandalism spree in a gas station bathroom. TMZ later visited the scene and found just a cracked sign, in keeping with UGA swimmer Gunnar Bentz’ statement that the swimmers took an al fresco bathroom break, after which Lochte banged up a sign.
In brighter news for Lochte, a cough drops company picked him up as a celebrity pitchman after sponsors such as Speedo and Ralph Lauren severed ties. He’ll appear in a series of ads for Pine Brothers cough drops.
“We all make mistakes, but they’re rarely given front-page scrutiny. He’s a great guy who has done incredible work with charities,” Pine Bros. CEO Rider McDowell told The Wrap. “I’m confident that Pine Bros. fans will support our decision to give Ryan a second chance.”
The campaign’s slogan will be “Pine Brothers Softish Throat Drops: Forgiving on Your Throat.”