It has been almost a year since U.S. gold medalist swimmer Ryan Lochte was caught lying about an incident that took place at a Rio de Janeiro gas station. Lochte was accused of falsely communicating a crime to authorities—claiming that he was robbed at gunpoint when he was actually being held up to pay damages he and his teammates incurred on the gas station's bathroom. But on Thursday, a Brazilian appellate court deemed Lochte not guilty of all charges, according to USA TODAY Sports.
Initially, a three-judge panel in lower Brazilian court ruled 2-1 that Lochte had misled authorities, but the ruling from Thursday claims that Lochte had not broken Brazilian law because Rio police initiated the investigation into Lochte's claims, and not Lochte. The court concluded that Lochte did not lie to authorities, but rather to NBC, and therefore did not commit a crime of false communication.
"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 Lochte's lawyer Jeff Ostrow in a statement to USA TODAY Sports.
Lochte was suspended from swimming in major competitions for 10 months for his actions. Now, prosecutors have 15 days to decide whether they want to appeal the case.