U.S. Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte's attorney is speaking out about Brazilian authorities’ recommendation that Lochte and fellow U.S. swimmer James Feigen be indicted on charges of false reporting of a crime in Rio de Janeiro.
Attorney Jeffery M. Ostrow said in a statement released Thursday afternoon that he wasn't aware that the federal authorities had recommended charges, but said he was "not surprised to hear it."
"[Brazilian authorities] have gone this far and have failed to acknowledge that the robbery actually took place, so [recommending charges] would be the natural next step."
Brazilian investigators claimed Lochte fabricated his story about being robbed in Rio after there was allegedly damage done to a bathroom door in a local gas station.
Lochte originally claimed that he and three of his teammates -- Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Congar -- were coming home after a night of partying when their taxi was pulled over by men pretending to be Rio police. He said that one of the robbers pointed a gun at his forehead and stole their money.
Later, Lochte altered his story when speaking with NBC's Matt Lauer during a phone interview on Wednesday, saying that the group wasn't pulled over but instead, they were robbed at a gas station after having the taxi pull over so they could use the restroom.
Rio police officials claim that a gas station security guard is the one who pointed the gun at the swimmers, and Brazilian authorities told The New York Times, "There was no robbery in the way it was reported by the athletes," and "they were not the victim of the criminal act they described."
A video later surfaced showing a man in uniform pointing a gun into the window of a taxi. One of the swimmers can be seen taking money out of his wallet. In another shot, two others are seen with their hands above their heads.
"A gun was pointed at the swimmers and they were forced to get out of their cab and give up their money," Ostrow's statement continued. "No matter what happened at that gas station, the swimmers were robbed by people with a gun appearing to be law enforcement. No matter what country you are in that is robbery and robbery is a serious crime."
Lochte returned to the United States before officials issued a request to seize the swimmers' passports. Conger and Bentz were pulled off a plane traveling back to the U.S. on Wednesday, and their passports were confiscated.
According to a statement released by United States Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun on Thursday night, Bentz and Conger's passports were released and the swimmers recently departed Rio. Blackmun also said that Feigen had "provided a revised statement this evening with the hope of securing the release of his passport as soon as possible."
"The behavior of these athletes is not acceptable, nor does it represent the values of Team USA or the conduct of the vast majority of its members. We will further review the matter, and any potential consequences for the athletes, when we return to the United States," Blackmun wrote. "On behalf of the United States Olympic Committee, we apologize to our hosts in Rio and the people of Brazil for this distracting ordeal in the midst of what should rightly be a celebration of excellence."
"With three days remaining in the Olympic Games, our primary focus will remain on supporting the athletes who are still competing and celebrating the achievements of those who have finished," the statement concluded.
The AP reports Conger and Bentz told police after questioning that the robbery story was fabricated. However, while speaking with Lauer, Lochte claims he and his fellow swimmers would never make up such a story.
"[Lochte] stopped me quickly and strongly denied that," Lauer reported. "He said, 'That's absolutely not the case. I wouldn't make up a story like this, nor would the others. As a matter of fact, we all feel it makes us look bad. We're victims in this and we're happy that we're safe."