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02 February 2009 @ 10:46 pm
A new Google alert....  


Michael Phelps could face charges for pot picture

By Adam Beam

McClatchy Newspapers

Monday, February 02, 2009

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says he will charge Michael Phelps with a crime if he determines the Olympics hero smoked marijuana in Richland County.

Phelps, who set a record with eight gold medals in the 2008 Summer Olympics, was photographed smoking a marijuana pipe at a November party in Columbia.


The picture was published in the British newspaper News of the World. Phelps apologized Sunday, calling his behavior “inappropriate.”

“This case is no different than any other case,” Lott said Monday. “This one might be a lot easier since we have photographs of someone using drugs and a partial confession. It’s a relatively easy case once we can determine where the crime occurred.”

Possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail or a $570 fine, plus court costs.

But Lott seems to be the only person talking about making a case against Phelps. Both the University of South Carolina and Columbia Police Departments said they would not pursue charges.

It was unclear Monday where the party took place, including whether it was on campus.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Phelps’ sponsors — from apparel company Speedo to luxury Swiss watchmaker Omega — issued statements calling the incident a “nonissue.” The International Olympic Committee accepted his apology.

“We have no reason to doubt his sincerity and his commitment to continue to act as a role model,” the IOC said in a statement.

At the University of South Carolina, where Phelps was visiting when the picture was taken, the mood was largely “who cares?”

“It’s not a surprise,” said India Jones, a sophomore biology major. “He’s young, and he is human. They’ll probably let him off easy because he owned up to it.”

This isn’t the first time Phelps has been in trouble following a gold medal performance. In 2004, fresh off his wins in the Athens Olympics, he pleaded guilty to drunk driving in Maryland.

Forgiveness of Phelps could be attributed to how he handled both situations — admitting up front he did it and apologizing, said Matt Brown, associate professor for sport and entertainment management at the University of South Carolina.

“America is a forgiving society, and he came out and apologized immediately,” Brown said. “I think as long as we don’t see more pictures coming out and more things coming out that he’s been doing this consistently, he’ll be OK.”

It also helps that many see Phelps as a nice guy. When he was in Columbia, he took time to speak to a class on sports’ role in society.

“It was amazing how gracious and how humble and just how helpful he tried to be,” said Sid Kenyon, a South Carolina adjunct professor who taught the class. “I can’t tell you how impressed I was with his mannerism and just how willing he was to help and do anything that we asked him.”

The Phelps story broke not in a sports magazine, but in a celebrity newspaper. Sports and entertainment journalism have been merging for years, Brown said, never more so than in the Olympics, which attracts a wider audience — including the kind of people who watch celebrity news on “Entertainment Tonight.”

“It becomes much more of an entertainment event than a sports event,” he said.


Staff writers Otis Taylor and Johnny Dickerson contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sports/stories/2009/02/02/michael_phelps_pot.html

Can they *do* that? Press charges based on a picture? Oh my GOD. Someone tell me not to panic.

amkfsisterruth on February 3rd, 2009 04:53 am (UTC)
No, they can't. And if you noticed, that press release was very carefully worded. He didn't admit anything illegal.
radrluv69radrluv69 on February 3rd, 2009 04:58 am (UTC)
Well, reading that through, Lott sounds like he's got a boner for Phelps. A "partial confession"? What the *hell*...
tooh1999tooh1999 on February 3rd, 2009 05:05 am (UTC)
You got that right. He just wants to make an example of MP and further his own career.
Dεαnnα Mαriεsassycat on February 3rd, 2009 02:58 pm (UTC)
First of all, this d-bag doesn't even have the definition of 'partial confession' right. A partial confession is when you admit to a part of the crime but not necessarily all or other parts of it. Phelps admitted to acting immature and doing something regretful, not to doing something illegal.

Anyways, partial confessions are admissible...but it kind of depends on the crime as to whether or not they're worth persuing. I mean a partial confession of robbing but not committing the murder in the process is definitely worthy of persuing. Even the shittiest lawyer wouldn't have a hard time defending him against these kinds of accusations. There's *nothing*...I reapeat NOTHING they can charge him on. This is utter bullshit.
tooh1999tooh1999 on February 3rd, 2009 03:25 pm (UTC)
Most of the Necks/Bible Thumpers though probably think this douchebag is doing the honorable thing. And OMG, I'm so glad we elected him bullshit.
Dεαnnα Mαriεsassycat on February 3rd, 2009 03:32 pm (UTC)

He's probably lit a doob at least once in his life too...so he needs to stop the holier-than-thou bullshit he's trying to pull.

Go read my newest entry.
Meganmeganrenee323 on February 3rd, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)
What?! They can't do that...

But Lott seems to be the only person talking about making a case against Phelps. Both the University of South Carolina and Columbia Police Departments said they would not pursue charges

I don't think this will get very far...that's my gut reaction.

Edited at 2009-02-03 04:56 am (UTC)
radrluv69radrluv69 on February 3rd, 2009 05:01 am (UTC)
Let me guess...Lott must be a Neck who thinks pot is for hippies and not Good Ol' American Boys...if you get my drift...
Meganmeganrenee323 on February 3rd, 2009 05:03 am (UTC)
I follow...he's not gonna get far with this.
Robin: Phelps eyesentropygoddess on February 3rd, 2009 05:05 am (UTC)
Sheriffs being elected and therefore political creatures, they do like to indulge in the occasional grandstanding.
radrluv69radrluv69 on February 3rd, 2009 05:07 am (UTC)
Oh, that is *so* grandstanding. What a Neck.
(Deleted comment)
radrluv69radrluv69 on February 3rd, 2009 05:22 am (UTC)
Yeah, I don't see how Lott can state that was a "partial confession". I think that's really stretching it. Maybe if he's so concerned about marijuana in his county, he should crack down on whoever actually brought the dope to the party as opposed to someone who took a hit off a bong and then left.

And plus, threatening to press charges against someone that took one bong hit *three months ago*...that's like the Mills County sheriff showing up on my door because I've said in this community that I smoked pot three times in the space of a year back in my twenties. Better yet, why don't they go arrest Whoopi Goldberg after her own pot admission on The View this morning?

Fascist much?
brittanydum_dum_pops on February 3rd, 2009 05:15 am (UTC)
I think he's just trying to put in a word for attention, to be honest. if they could press charges against people for smoking pot in pictures, thousands upon thousands of kids on facebook and myspace would be in deep trouble. just because they know who he is doesn't make his picture any different from any one elses.
radrluv69radrluv69 on February 3rd, 2009 05:25 am (UTC)
He think he's being high and mighty by threatening to make an example out of Phelps...because clean-cut American athletes aren't supposed to be smoking weed, that's for hippies and losers.

msfortune76msfortune76 on February 3rd, 2009 07:53 am (UTC)
All I can say about Sheriff Leon Lott is wow what a dick!
Dεαnnα Mαriεsassycat on February 3rd, 2009 01:52 pm (UTC)
OK, as a law student with thorough knowledge of how shit like this works, it will be IMPOSSIBLE for them to charge him with any crime.

A) They cannot prove that what he was smoking was actually weed. Yes, I know, it's retarded to smoke tobacco out of a bong but as they say, innocent until proven otherwise.

B) His apology was worded very carefully as to not say "Yes I smoked pot" but "Yes I acted in a regrettable way". BIG difference.

C) This happened what...three months ago? In a room full of inebriated people? Who the hell can give accurate testimony at this point in time? NO ONE.

Whoever wrote this is just trying to get a rise out of people and trying to make an ass/example out of Phelps. There is no possible way that they will charge him because nothing, at this point, can stick. They would be wasting time, money and energy by persuing any formal charges.

FOR CHRIST'S SAKE...even if they had a freaking *VIDEO* of Phelps putting what looked to be pot into the bong and lighting it before smoking it, there's not much they can do.

Like I said, I know how this shit works and I've dealt with these kinds of cases before during externships, etc. Nothing can happen. They're just trying to make an ass out of him. Way to go, ya douchebags. Thoroughly embarass him...what is that going to do for you?

radrluv69radrluv69 on February 3rd, 2009 08:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you, my law student mod!!
Dεαnnα Mαriεsassycat on February 3rd, 2009 11:03 pm (UTC)
*bows* Glad to know I can do something with my degree ;)
Elle B. See: Bunny Yoinkelbiesee on February 3rd, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC)
*relaxes a little*

Thanks for the info.
 ✬ 笑口常開  ✬solagratia on February 4th, 2009 12:34 am (UTC)
Hi, I've been a lurker for a while, and no, I'm not joining this comm just because of the pot debacle...

Here's my two cents:

Just let it die. Don't press charges, don't make a media circus out of this anymore. Just let it go and let the man go on with his life.
radrluv69radrluv69 on February 4th, 2009 12:59 am (UTC)
First of all, welcome to the community. I'm happy to see more people joining the community, just wish it was for a different reason!!

If you've been reading up, you're probably aware that a lot of the members of the communuity reached the point of being emotionally drained by this, and we're just finally getting our sense of humor back. I don't think anyone here really took the talk of pressing charges against MP all that seriously when mention was made of it last night, but now it's all over the place. And we're infuriated. It's not just about Phelps anymore, it's about the fact that this kind of "selective justice" could happen to any one of us.

Lott needs to either put up or shut up.
 ✬ 笑口常開  ✬solagratia on February 4th, 2009 01:19 am (UTC)
Amen, sister.