The attorney of US swimmer Ryan Lochte maintains his client did not lie about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro despite what authorities in Brazil are saying. Florida-based Jeffrey Ostrow, who represents Lochte, said the swimmer's apology on Friday (19 August) should not be considered an admission of guilt.
Ostrow told USA TODAY Sports that police in Rio should investigate the two security guards who pulled their weapons on the US swimmers and demanded payment for the damage they caused at a gas station. "I don't consider things done. I know that investigation is still going. I hope that there is more that comes out of it, find out a little bit more about the security guard or the military police or whatever it was specifically that extorted the money from (the swimmers)," he said.
The attorney said that Lochte stands behind his claim that he and his three teammates were held at gunpoint and robbed on Sunday (14 August). Ostrow said surveillance video at the gas station supports those claims. "That part of the story will never change," he said. "We stand behind that."
"(Lochte) knows that he was held up at gunpoint and forced to give up money and that he was robbed. That's being overshadowed, and it's unfortunate because people are focusing on other things or relying on what the Brazilians are saying as opposed to taking the time to really analyse that you can kind of see it both ways," Ostrow continued.
The attorney told USA TODAY Sports that he believes there are two sides to the story. He said that it could be seen as the swimmers being robbed as they were "yelled at in Portuguese with a gun pointed at them". However, Ostrow said he understood it from the Brazilian authorities' perspective as well.
"From (the Brazilians') respect, I can see that would be turned to, 'No, we were just telling him don't leave and pay us because we think you did some damage.' It could be interpreted both ways, and it's not fair for people to jump to conclusions that it was one way or another."
Following days of silence, Lochte issued a statement on Twitter apologising for his behaviour in Rio and "for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning." Lochte accepted responsibility for family to avoid the situation, but did not accept responsibility for any damage done to the gas station.
Testimony released by Rio authorities reveal US swimmer Jack Conger identified Lochte as the one who caused the damage. "Ryan ripped off a plaque that was stuck on the wall of the gas station and made a lot of noise," Conger said according to the police report.
ABC News reported that the International Olympic Committee is looking to set up a disciplinary commission to determine if Lochte, Conger and their teammates Gunnar Bentz and James Feigen will face punishment over what the Brazilian authorities call a fabricated story.