AceShowbiz - A Brazilian appellate court has dismissed a criminal case against Ryan Lochte regarding robbery scandal at Rio Olympics. According to USA Today, the court concludes that the swimmer did not break the law by falsely reporting an incident at a gas station last August.
An appeals court on Thursday, July 13 reversed the initial decision which said that the charge against Lochte was legitimate. It ruled that Brazilian law was not broken because Rio police had initiated the investigation, not Lochte. It was concluded that what the athlete said in the interview with NBC did not constitute a false report. Prosecutors have 15 days to decide whether they will challenge the ruling.
"We are pleased that the court has finally dismissed the criminal prosecution against Mr. Lochte, while at the same time, appropriately recognizing that he committed no crime. It has been a long year, but in the end, justice prevailed," said Jeff Ostrow, Lochte's Florida-based attorney, in a statement on Friday, July 14.
Lochte was previously charged with falsely communicating the details of alleged gunpoint robbery when he and three teammates, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen, stopped at a gas station to use the restroom after a night of partying following the conclusion of the swimming competition at the Rio Games.
Rio police reported that the swimmers had lied about the crime and that the Olympians vandalized the gas station bathroom by breaking a soap dispenser and mirror as well as destroying a poster outside the restroom. Following the scandal, Lochte was given 10-month suspension from the U.S. national swim and lost sponsors. His suspension ended on July 1.
Lochte later took to Instagram to apologize, "I want to apologize for my behavior last weekend - for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning and for my role in taking the focus away from the many athletes fulfilling their dreams of participating in the Olympics," he said. In an NBC interview, he also admitted that he over-exaggerated the story. "If I'd never done that, we wouldn't be in this mess... It was my immature behavior," he stated.