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UPDATE: Rockville swimmer Jack Conger detained in Rio, group admits fabricating robbery story

UPDATE: Rockville swimmer Jack Conger detained in Rio, group admits fabricating robbery story

UPDATED 8/18/16 1:05 p.m.

A local swimmer has been caught up in the Rio police investigation into whether Ryan Lochte was robbed at gunpoint during the Olympic Games. 

Jack Conger – from Rockville, Md. – was one of three members of the U.S. swim team accompanying Lochte when the alleged holdup occurred. The others were Gunnar Bentz and James Feigen. 

Only Lochte and Feigen originally spoke to police about the incident, which has since prompted an investigation into whether the swimmers fabricated their story, a crime in itself. 

On Wednesday a Rio judge ordered that Lochte's and Feigen's passports be confiscated, but Lochte had already returned to the U.S. and Feigen's whereabouts were unknown. 

Brazilian police discovered that Feigen had checked in online for a flight out of Rio Wednesday, but did not show up for his plane. Conger and Bentz, meanwhile, had boarded their flight, but were removed by police for questioning.

The U.S. Olympic Committee provided this update Thursday morning: 

The three U.S. Olympic swimmers (Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen) are cooperating with authorities and in the process of scheduling a time and place today to provide further statements to the Brazilian authorities. All are represented by counsel and being appropriately supported by the USOC and the U.S. Consulate in Rio.

Evolving Story

Though the initial inquiry focused on the alleged robbery, the Rio police investigation turned on the American swimmers as authorities could find no evidence to support their claims.

Conflicting and changing accounts from that evening first raised suspicion. Here's a quick timeline of events:

Aug. 14:

• News broke of the alleged robbery when Lochte's mother, Ileana, reported to the press that her son and his companions were robbed when men with guns stopped their taxi and demanded their wallets.

• Later that day, Lochte himself told NBC that the assailants presented a police badge and that one cocked a gun and held it to his forehead. 

Aug. 16:

• Lochte arrived back in the U.S. as originally scheduled. He said the American swimmers did not report the incident to police or Olympic officials out of fear that they had broken USOC rules and could get in trouble.

• Meanwhile back in Rio, police said that Lochte's and Feigen's statements about the events were inconsistent and vague on key details, possibly because they were drunk. 

Aug. 17:

• British paper The Daily Mail published what it claims was security footage of the U.S. swimmers arriving back at the Olympic Village after the incident. Video showed the four joking around with each other and in possession of valuables like watches.

• Brazilian Judge Keyla Blanc De Cnop issued the order to seize Lochte's and Feigen's passports, citing the suspiciously carefree behavior in the video as part of her judgment. She also revealed that Lochte said there was one robber in his statement to police, while Feigen said there were multiple. The men also reportedly were unable to say what time or where the robbery occurred.  

• Police arrived at the Olympic Village to confiscate the passports, but found that Lochte was already in the U.S. and the rest of the swimmers has moved out. That night, Conger and Bentz were removed from their flights. Feigen's whereabouts remained unknown.

• Speaking by phone to NBC's Matt Lauer, Lochte insisted that he did not and would not fabricate such a story. Several details changed in his latest retelling, including that the robbery occurred after the group's taxi had stopped to use a gas station bathroom (not that their taxi was stopped by the suspects), and that the gun was aimed near him (not held to his forehead). 

Aug. 18:

• USOC's statement said Feigen, Conger and Bentz had legal counsel and support of the U.S. Consulate. The three planed to meet with Brazilian authorities for questioning today. 

• ABC News reported that police sources recovered surveillance video from the gas station that night. It showed one swimmer "breaking down the door to the bathroom at the gas station and fighting with a security guard." 

• Another police source told the Associated Press that the swimmers invented the robbery story to conceal the confrontation at the gas station. The source said that one swimmer tried and failed to open the bathroom door, prompting his companions to push on the door and break it. A security guard with a gun then confronted the group, but did not draw his weapon or aim it at anyone. The gas station manager arrived on the scene, and with translation help from another customer, demanded that the Americans pay for the broken door. The swimmers gave him an undetermined amount of money and left. Lochte then told his mother the robbery story, and she relayed it to the media. 

• A worker from the gas station in question came forward with another variation of the night's events. 

• Around noon Thursday, ESPN reported that Lochte's three teammates admitted that the robbery story was false. 

Legal Consequences

According to Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann, filing a false police report is against the law in Brazil as it is in the U.S. A conviction of the crime can carry a six-month jail sentence or fine, but the Brazilian judicial system would have to determine that the swimmers knowingly lied, as opposed to confused the story after drinking heavily. 

The U.S. and Brazil have an extradition treaty, but it only applies to certain serious crimes, not offenses like filing a false police report. Lochte will almost certainly not be extradited. 

Conger, Bentz and Feigen could be detained in Brazil for an extended time as authorities conduct interviews and determine charges. If charged with filing a false police report or obstruction of justice, the Americans may be able to post bail provided that they do not leave the country. 

The U.S. State Department will almost certainly get involved in the case to expedite a resolution and ensure the swimmers are treated fairly. It's possible that diplomacy, rather than the legal system, will resolve this situation. 

Conger a Montgomery County Kid

As of 1:00 p.m., local news trucks and police vehicles have gathered in front of Conger's home in the Flower Valley neighborhood of Rockville. 

Conger swam locally for Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club and Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney, Md. He went on to swim collegiately for University of Texas. 

While representing Good Counsel at the Metros in 2013, Conger posted a 4:13.87 time in the 500-yard freestyle, obliterating a 30-year-old National High School record by 3 full seconds. 

The 21-year-old finished in the top four of three events at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. His third-place in the 200-meter freestyle earned him a spot on the Olympic roster. 

Once in Rio, Conger won a gold medal as part of the 800-meter freestyle relay team.

Additional information sourced from CNN and SwimSwam.com. 

10.10.18 Rick Horrow talks with Cubs manager Joe Maddon

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USA TODAY Sports

10.10.18 Rick Horrow talks with Cubs manager Joe Maddon

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

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10.5.18: Rick Horrow interviews boxing champ Andre Ward

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USA TODAY

10.5.18: Rick Horrow interviews boxing champ Andre Ward

Rick Horrow interviews Andre Ward, retired boxing champ, host of The Contender on EPIX and a star in Creed II. He also plus takes you through the biggest stories of the week in sports business.

 

By Rick Horrow

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE.

Podcast editor: Tanner Simkins

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