US Olympic swimming medalist Ryan Lochte has changed his story about the alleged robbery at gunpoint he and three other swimmers reported they experienced early Sunday in Rio de Janeiro.
Lauer said that two key details in Lochte’s story had changed since the interview he gave to Billy Bush earlier in the week. Lochte has previously said the cab the swimmers were in had been pulled over, but in his new account, they had stopped at a gas station to go to the bathroom.
The other detail involved the gun.
“When he talked to me tonight, he said, ‘that’s when the guy pointed the gun in my direction and cocked it.’ And I pointedly said to him, ‘you had said before it was placed on your forehead and cocked.’ He said, ‘No, that’s not exactly what happened.’ And I think he feels it was more of a traumatic mis-characterization. I think people listening at home might feel that was embellishment at the time, but that’s up to people to decide.”
Yesterday it was reported that Rio police said they had no evidence to corroborate the story, and surveillance tapes of the athletes returning to the Olympic village after the alleged robbery reportedly contradict claims by the swimmers that possessions had been taken and show them laughing and smiling — not the kind of behavior that typical follows a threatening violent incident.
Matt Lauer says there are discrepancies in Lochte’s story:
Lochte has returned to the United States.
Swimmers Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were pulled from a plane on Wednesday night as they were planning to leave Rio, NBC News reports:
Jeff Ostrow, a lawyer representing Lochte, and a spokesman for the U.S. Olympic Committee confirmed swimmers Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were taken off the aircraft. Det. Alexandre Braga, the chief of the city’s tourist police, said the pair had their passports “temporarily confiscated by a court order.”
Bentz and Conger were released by authorities “with the understanding that they would continue their discussions about the incident on Thursday,” USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said. The two were seen leaving the airport police station early Thursday, where they were surrounded by media before getting into a black vehicle.
The whereabouts of Jimmy Feigen, the fourth swimmer involved, are currently unknown, but it has been reported that he is still in Rio and cooperating with authorities.
Brazilian judge Keyla Blanc de Cnop said Lochte and Feigen gave contradictory accounts of the robbery, according to the court’s statement. The men also said the robbery took place on the way home from a club, which they left at 4 a.m. But security video showed them leaving at a different time, the judge said.
De Cnop added that Lochte told police there was one robber, while Feigen said there were more, one of whom had a gun.
Watch a report from Rachel Maddow: