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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Prosecutors have charged two protesters who rushed the stage of Dancing with the Stars in a protest against Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte.
The Los Angeles city attorney’s office says Sam Sotoodeh and Barzeen Soroudi were charged Monday with interfering with a performance and leaving a spectator area and entering a stage, both misdemeanors.
The 59-year-old Sotoodeh and 25-year-old Soroudi were arrested Sept. 12 during a taping of the ABC ballroom dancing competition.
Satoodeh told ABC News they wanted to “get the message out that Lochte is a coward, a liar and, under Brazilian law, a criminal.”
Arraignment is set for Oct. 4. Each man could face 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted.
Lochte and partner Cheryl Burke were visibly shaken by the off-camera incident, which was captured by social media, during the Sept. 12 live season premiere. The two men rushed the pair after they completed their foxtrot performance and were listening to critiques from the judging panel. Security guards quickly tackled the two men and the incident prompted DWTS, which tapes in Los Angeles, to subsequently reevaluate their security.
Lochte, 32, and his Olympic swimming teammates faced criticism after lying about a drunken encounter during the Rio Games. Lochte, whose 12 medals and six golds make him the second-most decorated Olympic swimmer, was banned from competition for 10 months — including a chance to qualify for next summer’s world championships — by the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Swimming.
Also on Tuesday, Lochte’s teammate Michael Phelps, who retired after the Summer Games as the most-decorated Olympian of all time, told the Associated Press about Lochte’s Rio behavior: “I did have a talk with him about two days before about not doing anything bad. I told him, ‘Just keep your head on straight. Have fun.'”
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