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Team USA Swimmers Return to U.S. ... Yeah, We've Got Baggage

8/19/2016 6:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

jack_conger_gunnar_bentz_baggage_airport_launchTalk about two guys STOKED to be home.

Here's Team USA swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz finally returning to the states ... after Brazilian officials pulled them off their homebound flight earlier this week.

Conger and Bentz were part of the Ryan Lochte party crew that allegedly vandalized a Rio gas station bathroom Sunday morning and then lied about it to police. 

The two were interviewed by police -- but were ultimately allowed to fly home on Thursday. 

So far, 3 of the 4 swimmers are back on U.S. soil -- Jimmy Feigen is expected to return shortly after striking a deal to pay $11,000 to a Brazilian charity. 

U.S. Swimmer Jimmy Feigen Strikes $11,000 Deal ... To Keep His Ass Outta Brazilian Jail

8/19/2016 6:09 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0819-jimmy-feigen-GETTY-01How much does it cost to make an international bathroom scandal go away in Rio?? Just short of $11,000 ... at least for Team USA swimmer Jimmy Feigen.

The swimmer's lawyer just announced that JF struck a deal with Brazilian officials ... in which he agreed to pony up a check for $10,800 to a Brazilian charity called the Reaction Institute. 

In exchange, prosecutors say they will not charge Feigen with filing a false police report for lying about being robbed at gunpoint during a gas station bathroom incident early Sunday morning.  

FYI, the Reaction Institute is a community outreach program that helps Brazil's youth with judo training. Ronda Rousey has worked with the charity in the past. 

Rio ... best justice money can buy.  

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Ryan Lochte $400 for Cracked Sandwich Sign ... Highway Robbery?

8/18/2016 6:01 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Ryan Lochte and his crew paid around $400 to the Rio gas station owner for a sandwich sign they cracked during their drunken escapade, and the amount of cash may actually help the boys.

Our guy in Rio got a pic of the damage, and all you see is a slight crack on the plastic cover of a sign on the wall outside the bathroom. Although cops talked about a mirror that was broken in the bathroom, we saw no evidence of this and someone who works there said the sign was the only thing damaged.

Lochte claims he and the other swimmers offered around $50 for the damage but the station wanted more. Our Lochte sources tell us he paid around $400.

Our sources say by extracting exponentially more than the damage warranted, with the help of a gun, that constituted robbery and therefore the police report was not false.

As we reported, cops have recommended that Lochte and fellow swimmer, James Feigen, be prosecuted for filing a false police report.

Ryan Lochte & Co. Rolling into Club Before 'Robbery'

8/18/2016 3:51 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Ryan Lochte and the 3 other Team USA swimmers were rolling like true VIPs when they cruised into a Brazilian nightclub ... about 4 hours before their alleged robbery sparked an international incident.

Surveillance footage at Club France shows Lochte, James Feigen, Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger breezed past the line of normies waiting at 1:47 AM to get inside.

At 5:47 AM they walked out of the club, interestingly, the Olympic heroes had zero chicks with them.

As we reported ... Lochte's camp denies Rio police claims that 2 female witnesses at the gas station were with the swimmers.

Brazilian Legend Royce Gracie Hey, Ryan Lochte ... COME CLEAN ALREADY

8/18/2016 3:46 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0818-royce-gracie-ryan-lochte-tmz-instagram-01Brazilian MMA legend Royce Gracie has a message to Ryan Lochte -- cut the crap and tell the TRUTH already! 

We spoke with Gracie moments ago about the Lochte situation in his home country -- and Gracie told us he's sick and tired of the lies. 

"You are a professional athlete. The young generation is looking up to you ... come clean."

Gracie believes the root of the problem is alcohol -- with Brazilian officials saying Lochte and the other 3 swimmers were hammered when they vandalized a gas station bathroom in Rio. 

"He needs to clean up his act and stop drinking," Gracie says ... "People will respect him more."

"As an athlete I am on a different level. I don’t drink, never smoked. He should know that and he forgets what the life of an athlete is."

"It’s time for him to quit drinking and don’t ever drink again ... that's what caused this."

Ryan Lochte, James Feigen Cops Recommend Indictment for Crime in Rio

8/18/2016 3:17 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

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3:34 PM PT -- ABC News appears to have backed off the indictment story and now says federal cops are "recommending" indictment.

update_grey_gray_barRyan Lochte and James Feigen have been indicted in Rio for filing a false police report ... this according to ABC News.

Sources connected to the 2 swimmers tell TMZ, they're "not surprised" at the turn of events, but they add Ryan and Jimmy told the truth. They reiterated, as Ryan initially said, the swimmers were in a cab, they were confronted by men who appeared to be police and at that point there is a lapse of 3 minutes on the video.

When the video restarts the swimmers come out with their hands up, Ryan is standing and then goes down. And the sources add armed security took their money.

Jimmy Feigen is still in Rio and could be arrested. Ryan is back in the U.S.

The crime of filing a false police report is punishable by 6 months in jail. We've done some checking and the crime is not listed as an extraditable offense, which means the U.S. cannot force Lochte to go back to Rio for prosecution.

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Ryan Lochte Rio Cops Are Full of It ... Chicks Were NOT with Us

8/18/2016 2:56 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Cops in Rio are making things personal by claiming Ryan Lochte's teammates rolled over on him, and by dragging random women into the story ... according to sources connected to the swimmer.

Sources in Lochte's camp tell us the police news conference was full of lies -- including the bit about two female witnesses the cops said were hanging with the 4 U.S. swimmers. We're told that's absolutely BS ... and a personal attack designed to make the guys look bad, especially since some of them have girlfriends.

Lochte's camp also says there's no truth to the cops' claim one of the swimmers confessed to lying. We're told Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen all stand united on what went down, including the fact a gun was used to commit the robbery.

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Ryan Lochte My Story Was Mostly True Tape Edited At Critical Point

8/18/2016 11:15 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0817-ryan-lochte-tmzRyan Lochte did not lie about the "robbery" incident ... and there are 3 minutes of missing surveillance video that will back up most of his story ... this according to sources directly connected to the swimmer. 

Our sources say Lochte and his team claim they were indeed taken out of a cab at gunpoint, but the video doesn't show that because the gas station edited it out. 

We're told Lochte mistook the uniforms worn by the security guards as police uniforms, and he claims during the missing 3 minutes he and the other swimmers were pulled out of the taxi at gunpoint. 

As for his claim the cab was pulled over en route, one of the sources concedes, "That's a problem."

And our Lochte sources say reports that his 3 teammates admitted the story was a lie are untrue.

In fact ... Jimmy Feigen just spoke with local news in San Antonio, denying a cover-up and affirming he was robbed.

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U.S. Swimmers Damaged Gas Station ... Guard Forced 'em to Pay Up

8/18/2016 8:26 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Exclusive Details

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9:08 AM PT -- Security camera footage from the gas station shows the swimmers walking through a hallway back toward the bathroom, and then leave. You can't see what happens by the bathroom door.

Once they get in their taxi though, gas station employees approach and after some discussion they all get out of the cab. At the very end of the footage ... the swimmers have their hands up and it appears they're being forced to sit on the ground.

There's no gun visible in the video.

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Ryan Lochte and his teammates left out a huge part of their "robbery" story -- which is that they busted up a gas station bathroom, and THEN a security guard pulled a gun on them ... TMZ Sports has learned.

Sources connected to James Feigen tell us the real deal is ... the 4 swimmers -- including Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz -- were on their way home from a party early Sunday morning when they stopped to take a leak at a gas station. We're told one or more of the guys was peeing outside the bathroom, and also kicked in the bathroom door.

Our sources say the swimmers were all wasted.

That's when the gas station's armed security guard rolled up, pulled his gun and demanded they pay for the damage. We're told he did take money from the swimmers, but only to cover the expenses, and then let them go.

Rio police say the gas station manager tells a slightly different story -- claiming the guard never pulled the gun and the manager merely asked them to pay, which they did.

Bottom line ... it's possible Lochte and co. didn't lie about a gun or losing money. However, they DID create a whole bogus scenario about their taxi getting pulled over and fake badges -- and totally omitted the part about them starting the trouble in the first place. On Wednesday night, Lochte repeated most of those lies to Matt Lauer.

They could face prosecution for lying to Rio cops. They have a news conference scheduled for later Thursday.

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U.S. Swimmers Video Reportedly Shows Brawl with Security ... At Gas Station

8/18/2016 7:34 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0818-ryan-lochte-james-feigen-jack-conger-gunnar-bentz-TMZ-GETTY-01An American swimmer was allegedly caught on video breaking down a bathroom door at a gas station and fighting with a security guard in Brazil ... a police source tells ABC News. 

The video is part of the investigation into Ryan Lochte and 3 other U.S. swimmers who claim they were robbed at gunpoint early Sunday morning. 

The police source claims the gas station fight was captured on surveillance video -- though it's unclear which swimmer was fighting. 

Local reports in Brazil say the swimmer was going bersek in the bathroom -- and the security guard, who worked for the gas station, confronted him ... and the two began fighting.

A source connected with one of the swimmers tells TMZ ... the scenario described in local Brazilian reports is "absolutely accurate."

0817-launch-ryan-lochte-olympics-rio-03

Ryan Lochte More Changes In Robbery Story

8/18/2016 6:07 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

0818-ryan-lochte-matt-laurer-getty-01Ryan Lochte is changing his tune about the alleged Rio robbery ... sorta ... with new claims about the incident that don't exactly jive with the story he told Billy Bush

First, Matt Lauer says Lochte now insists he did NOT have a gun pressed up against his forehead during the incident -- but rather, one of the gunmen was pointing the gun in his general direction. 

Lauer says he noticed one other difference when he spoke with the swimmer on the phone Wednesday night.  

Lochte now says he did not get "pulled over" by men posing as police -- but rather, 2 men approached their taxi while it was parked at a gas station, where Lochte had used the restroom. Lochte says the crew tried to tell the taxi driver to go, but he wouldn't. 

Lochte says he feels the differences are nothing more than a "traumatic mischaracterization." 

Lauer says he asked Lochte if he made the story up to cover up something else the swimmers were doing that night -- and Ryan adamantly denied that. 

Olympic Gymnast Shawn Johnson 'MEMBA HER?!

8/18/2016 12:20 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0817_shawn_johnson_now_photos_launchUSA gymnast Shawn Johnson was only 16 years old when she brought home a gold medal for balance beam at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. See what she looks like now!

Ryan Lochte Olympic Teammates Detained in Brazil

8/17/2016 6:19 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Breaking News

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10:30 PM PT -- A rep for the USOC says Conger and Bentz have both been released by local authorities ... but will remain in Brazil to continue discussions on Thursday, along with James Feigen, who the rep says is also in contact with investigators.

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Team USA swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz -- who were with Ryan Lochte during the alleged robbery in Rio -- got yanked off an airplane as they were trying to leave Brazil.

The USOC confirms to TMZ Sports ... Conger and Bentz were detained by authorities, but says it's still gathering information as to find out exactly why.

Earlier on Tuesday, cops in Rio said they were suspicious of the swimmers' claim they were robbed at gunpoint early Sunday morning. The USOC says cops went to the Olympic Village to interview Lochte and teammate James Feigen, but discovered they'd already left -- Locate's actually back in the States. 

NBC says Feigen was slated to be on the same flight with Bentz and Conger, but never showed up.

Looks like they nabbed Conger and Bentz at the last possible moment. Late Wednesday night, cops were still interviewing them at the airport.

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