A Brazilian police official says the two U.S. swimmers involved in the alleged robbery with Ryan Lochte and James Feigen at the 2016 Rio Olympics have reportedly confessed to the incident being fake.
After being detained at an airport while leaving the Rio Games, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz told authorities the robbery story was, in fact, "fabricated," the Associated Press reports via CNBC.
The Brazilian police official (who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak about an ongoing probe) also came forward and told the AP a different incident occurred the same night of the reported robbery involving the U.S. swimmers.
The official said Lochte and his fellow swimmers stopped at a gas station in Barra da Tijuca—a suburb of Rio where many Olympic venues are located—to use the restroom around 6 a.m. Sunday morning.
When one of the swimmers tried to open the door of an outside bathroom, it was locked and a few of the swimmers then joined him, pushed on it and broke it. The official says a security guard confronted them, and while the guard was armed with a pistol, he never took it out or pointed it at the swimmers.
The gas station manager arrived shortly thereafter and used another customer to translate, asking the swimmers to pay for the damages they had caused.
Brazilian officials told ABC the swimmers eventually ended up paying him 100 reals (or about $30) and an additional $20 to account for the damages.
Globo released a video of the incident, and while E! News has viewed the footage, we cannot confirm it's authenticity.
A police news conference is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. United States Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky said Thursday that Lochte's teammates were scheduling a time and place to meet with authorities. "All are represented by counsel and being appropriately supported by the USOC and the U.S. Consulate in Rio," he said.
As of Wednesday, Lochte still stood by his account, telling Matt Lauer, "I wouldn't make up a story like this nor would the others," Lauer told Bob Costas, quoting Lochte from their phone conversation. "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."
Lochte's lawyer, Jeff Ostrow, also supported his client, telling the AP earlier this week that Lochte was telling the truth. "This happened the way he described it," Ostrow said (via NBC Connecticut). "Ryan was a hundred percent cooperative and fully available when they reached out to us for an interview."
"It doesn't behoove Ryan and anyone else to make up a story," he added.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday night, E! News confirmed Conger and Bentz were detained by authorities while attempting to leave the Rio Games in Brazil and were questioned in connection to the alleged robbery involving Lochte and Feigen.
Patrick Sandusky released the following statement to E! News regarding the airport incident:
"Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were detained Wednesday night shortly before their flight was scheduled to depart from Rio. They were released by local authorities with the understanding that they would continue their discussions about the incident on Thursday. James Feigen is also communicating with local authorities and intends to make further statements regarding the incident on Thursday as well. We will continue to provide updated information as it is appropriate."
MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images
The four swimmers said they were robbed at gunpoint by men who posed as officers on Sunday morning after a night out at the France House.
Lochte told Today's Billy Bush, "We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over. They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground—they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn't do anything wrong, so I'm not getting down on the ground."
However, the case took an interesting turn as police found no evidence to support Lochte's claim. When officials interviewed Lochte and Feigen, they said they had been intoxicated and could not recall details about the taxi they were driven in or where the robbery happened. The athletes also could not say what time the events occurred or when they left the France House.
The discrepancies in their reports led a Brazilian judge to order seizures of their passports.
E! News obtained a statement from the Rio de Janeiro court on Wednesday, which said Judge Keyla Blanc De Cnop, the Special Court of the Fan and Major Events, listed other inconsistencies in the swimmers' testimonies about the amount of robbers involved in the incident. While Lochte reportedly said they were only robbed by one culprit, Feigen said there were multiple people involved. Furthermore, the judge highlighted the men's "attitude" as they passed through security after the alleged stickup, which was captured by security cameras.
Legal expert Troy Slaten tells E! News, "If, and that's a big 'if,' Lochte is convicted of 'making any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation' to the FBI, then he faces up to 5 years in federal prison...The FBI takes lies very very seriously."
Slaten adds, "I doubt there would be a trial unless he wanted to fight it all the way. There would likely be a deal."