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Judge orders US swimmers Ryan Lochte, Jimmy Feigen not to leave Brazil

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Not every day of the Olympic Games is packed with action and drama
USA TODAY

RIO DE JANEIRO — A Brazilian judge ordered two U.S. swimmers not to leave the country, according to court documents obtained Wednesday. Ryan Lochte and Jimmy Feigen were ordered to stay in Rio three days after they said they were robbed at gunpoint. Attorney Jeff Ostrow told USA TODAY Sports that Lochte was already back in the United States as of Tuesday afternoon.

Judge Keyla Blank said she based her ruling on inconsistencies in the testimony of the two swimmers, who said they and two teammates were robbed at gunpoint after a late night out.

Blank wrote in her filing that there were questions about a gap between when the swimmers said they left France House and arrived at the athletes’ village. The swimmers said they departed France House at about 4 a.m., while a surveillance video showed they checked back in to the athletes village at 6:56 a.m., the judge wrote. Such a trip during early morning hours would take 30 to 40 minutes. She also indicated that images from the France Club indicate a different time of departure than the one the men allege.

She said they did not appear to be physically or psychologically shaken by the alleged crime.  “They arrived with their psychological and physical integrity unshaken,” she wrote, also noting that the swimmers appeared to be joking with each other and did not appear to be upset. She watched surveillance video of the swimmers arriving at the athletes village.

The judge wrote that she ordered the two swimmers’ passports seized and that both men remain in Brazil because investigators need more time to determine whether they are guilty of filing a false police report.

Under Brazilian law, filing a false police report can lead to six months detention or a fine.

The U.S. Olympic Committee said police had further questions for the swimmers but that no athletes had been detained Wednesday morning.

“The swim team moved out of the village after their competition ended, so we were not able to make the athletes available,”  USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said in a statement.  “Additionally, as part of our standard security protocol, we do not make athlete travel plans public and therefore cannot confirm the athletes’ current location.”

Police went to the athletes’ village to speak with the swimmers, who were not there. Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Feigen said they were robbed at gunpoint early Sunday morning.

Feigen is still in Rio, according to his hometown newspaper, the San Antonio Express-News, which spoke to him briefly Wednesday.  Bentz, who swims for the University of Georgia, originally planned to return to the United States on Thursday, Georgia sports information director Claude Felton said. But he did not know whether Bentz had already returned home.

Lochte told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday that he initially did not tell the USOC that he and three other swimmers were victims of a robbery early Sunday morning “because we were afraid we’d get in trouble.”

The four swimmers told USOC officials that they had been taking a taxi home early Sunday from France House when “their taxi was stopped by individuals posing as armed police officers who demanded the athletes’ money and other personal belongings,” according to a USOC statement.

Police investigating the case told the Associated Press they have not found evidence to support the swimmers’ account of the incident. The four swimmers were unable to provide key details in police interviews, according to the AP.

Ostrow, Lochte’s attorney, said Lochte cooperated fully with authorities and gave a statement to representatives from the State Department, FBI, Tourist Police and the USOC’s security team at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday night.

“I know that Ryan didn’t want this to turn into what it did,” Ostrow said. “The Olympics are more important and Team USA’s performances are more important.”

Rio 2016 and the International Olympic Committee did not address the case when asked about it at a news conference Wednesday. “Just for clarification, we won’t be asking USOC for any comment. You’ll have to go to them directly,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.

Contributing: Nicole Auerbach

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