Lawyers for two young men in South Carolina say their clients were arrested by Richland County police and charged with marijuana possession—but that the cops only seemed interested in asking them about Michael Phelps.
Attorneys Joseph McCulloch and Dick Harpootlian seemed to confirm yesterday's report that Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott was targeting people connected to the infamous bong that was briefly held by the Olympics' greatest champion. But it also seems that he's not doing it just to punish these no-good punks—he's actually trying to build a case against Phelps himself.
The two clients in question were renters at the house where the party took place, but were not actually at the party (what a drag!) and don't even live there anymore. Police issued a search warrant on their new home and then accused them of having marijuana there. (That's some great police work, boys.)
"After they arrested him, they didn't ask him, 'Where did you get the marijuana?' or 'Who sold it to you?' Almost all the questions they asked him were about Michael Phelps," Harpootlian said.
So far, however, it looks like no one is singing....
McCulloch, who said his client was out of town at the time, doubted that anything they told police would assist them in the case against Phelps.
"Our clients answered questions but I don't know that their information would be helpful to law enforcement," McCulloch said. "It seems to me that Richland County has a host of its own crime problems much more serious than a kid featured in a photograph with a bong in his hand."
Actually, they do! According to the Sheriff's Department website there are 22 unsolved murders since 1996 (the year Sheriff Lott was elected) along with many other "undesirables" that appear to be on the loose. I don't see Michael Phelps' picture on the Most Wanted List, but maybe they just want to make him feel comfortable. You know, see if he tries to re-enter his life in South Carolina. That's when they make their move....
Attorneys say arrests made in Michael Phelps party case [USA Today]
A Bigger A-Hole than A-Rod* [Fenway West]
Holiday Parade (band at the party) interview [Idobi Radio]