Brazilian police charged U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte late Thursday with filing a false robbery report during his visit to Rio de Janeiro earlier this month.
Lochte and three other U.S. swimmers said they were robbed by fake armed police officers while coming home from a party after the swimming competition had ended. Lochte led the charge, doing TV interviews and going to the police to present his case.Lochte left Brazil before a judge ordered the four men to remain in the country. Last week, Brazilian police concluded Lochte's recounting of events was untrue. Surveillance video showed the group, led by Lochte, vandalizing a gas station bathroom and urinating on the building, and then arguing with security guards before handing over money. Two swimmers were ordered off their plane so they could be interviewed by Rio police before returning to the U.S. Swimmer Jimmy Fiegen paid about $11,000 to settle the case against him.
The State Department has encouraged Lochte to comply with Brazilian officials. He will not be able to strike a plea deal if he does not return to Brazil and work with law enforcement.
State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters Thursday the department had no specific comment about the case, but did say U.S. citizens are encouraged to comply."We've seen those reports as well. Due to privacy considerations, I don't have information to offer," Trudeau said. "I would say, speaking broadly, we do encourage U.S. citizens as always to cooperate with law enforcement."