UPDATE: Lochte has issued a statement.
So, Ryan Lochte was out with some other U.S. Swimmers and later reported a robbery. The New York Times has a full breakdown of the timeline of events, and the current status of everything.
Basically, the men had their cab stop at a gas station to use the restroom. Lochte initially said they were pulled over by someone pretending to be a police officer, but later publicly said they had stopped at the gas station. He says they were stopped by a man or men with badges, and ordered to the ground and to hand over their money. The gas station says they they damaged some of the facilities, and that a security guard confronted them. Video from the gas station shows them on the ground- that actually supports part of Lochte’s statement. Some people are now saying that the security guards may have tried to get them to pay, or extorted them, while others say the men offered money to the gas station. The whole thing is weird.
The common law definition of Robbery is taking the property of another by force or the threat of force. If the guard, who had a gun, ordered Lochte and the swimmers around and demanded money, it could constitute common law robbery. I do not know the definition of robbery in Brazil, but it potentially could fit, or could fit some other extortion charge. That’s not to say Lochte and/or the other swimmers are blameless, they could be facing charges for destruction of property, even if it bore out that they weren’t charged for false report.
Swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz, who were pulled off a plane, gave a statement to police that did not indicate a robbery, and were permitted to travel back to the United States. Jimmy Feigen made an arrangement to make a payment to a Brazillian organization in a deal to avoid prosecution- which sounds like a deferred prosecution deal that one might see here. Lochte may end up doing something like that, as the charge is not ultimately that serious of an offense, and is more of a case of him acting drunk and stupid than criminally. It probably would not have been an issue if he had heeded the advice of USOC, and not said anything, instead of giving a graphic interview to the media the next morning.
The lie is usually worse than the crime.
Ryan Lochte and James Feigen have reportedly been indicted by Rio police. Reports indicate that have been charged with false report of a crime (in Florida, that’s only a misdemeanor offense). Feigen is reportedly still in Brazil, but Lochte has already returned to the United States. Developing…
Reports are coming out of Rio that the swimmers in the alleged robbery may have been in a fight with a gas station attendant. They will hold a news conference at 2 pm.
UPDATE: The Gas station owner claims they were peeing on the gas station, after being asked to use the restroom.
UPDATE 2: Apparently his teammates may have dimed him out and told authorities there was no robbery. He could be in trouble both for false report, and for the incident at the gas station.
The Daily Mail obtained the security video of Ryan Lochte and the other US Swimmers were were allegedly robbed the other night in Rio: the same video the judge used to say they appeared nonchalant when he ordered them seized and their passports taken. What stood out for me watching the video is that, consistent with just being robbed, they men did not have wallets. While Lochte’s story has changed some in the details, he repeatedly stated that their wallets were stolen, but not their credentials. You can see credentials and cell phones, but not wallets of the four Olympians as they pass through security.
Lochte told his father when he landed he was going to have to purchase another wallet for the one that was stolen. The Daily Mail thinks they could be wallets, but they are not, or it was a wallet that wasn’t stolen. Lochte definitely doesn’t have a wallet. Also, one of the swimmers still had some money for the cab they got home- having a wallet wouldn’t mean they weren’t robbed. Free the swimmers!
Acquitted Obstructionist Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds, whose appeals are finally over after his conviction was reversed, cost American taxpayers a pretty penny. Bonds was prosecuted federally, so we are all paying: this was not a local jurisdictional exercise. This was a substantial expenditure by the United States government. The notice filed yesterday that the government would not attempt to appeal the case to the Supreme Court effectively ends the case, and avoids any additional cost. However, the cost of that final appeal would have been a drop in the bucket of the total cost of prosecuting this case.
Estimates back in 2009 put the cost of the trial at around $6 million. But the trial was the culmination of many years of investigation, whose tally was estimated several years back to be from $55 million up to $100 million. I have not been able to find any more recent estimates, nor any estimates that include the ongoing appellate tally, which included the original appeal, then the larger panel appellate rehearing which finally reversed the one charge of which Bonds was convicted. The Roger Clemens trial may have cost another $10 million or more. That’s a lot of money which was ultimately put toward proving cheating in baseball. While it may be the national pastime; it is not a public interest that needs a government referee (or umpire). The conclusion of Bonds’ case may finally have put an end to this costly undertaking. An undertaking whose bill was paid by U.S. taxpayers.
Posted in California, Criminal Law, Federal
Tagged appeal, balco, barry bonds, baseball, drugs, jeff novitsky, mlb, obstruction, perjury, roger clemens, trial, witch hunt
The specious prosecution of Barry Bonds has wound down to an anticlimactic conclusion. Just a little while ago, the Justice Department filed notice that they would not be seeking Supreme Court review of the appellate court decision that overturned Bond’s conviction. That means they are not seeking further appeal, and the case is effectively dismissed.
The government went after Bonds not for using steroids, but for obstruction of justice for not giving them straight answers when questioned by federal agents. He went to trial, and was only convicted of one count, specifically for a meandering answer he gave that was not directly responsive to the question. Ironically, he already served the sentence, which involved house arrest instead of incarceration.
A similar prosecution against Roger Clemens led to not guilty verdicts at trial, though some non-baseball players were not as fortunate. Track star Marion Jones was sentenced to 6 months jail after entering a plea for lying in her steroid investigation. As is often the case, the cover up is worse than the offense. Remember, if federal agents come calling, call a lawyer right away, even if you have nothing to hide!
Posted in California, Criminal Law, Drugs, Federal
Tagged balco, barry bonds, drugs, marion jones, obstruction, perjury, roger clemens, steroids
7-time NL MVP Barry Bonds
The 11th Circuit overturned the conviction of Barry Bonds today. Bonds lost his trial on obstruction charges for a meandering answer to a question in front of a grand jury related to a steroid investigation. The appellate court initially upheld the conviction, but agreed to a larger panel re-hearing. The 11-judge rehearing panel found that the response was not material to the government’s investigation into steroids.
The government can appeal (or ask for a full rehearing in front of the 11th circuit). Three other counts of the indictment were deadlocked by the trial jury, and later dismissed by prosecutors. Bonds was sentenced to 30 days home confinement, which he already served, plus fines and community service. The initial statement in question was made in 2003, which means Bonds’ legal saga has now gone on for about 12 years… and may not be done yet.