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No Pot Charge For Phelps

Feb. 16 2009, Published 6:59 a.m. ET

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Michael Phelps will not be charged with any wrongdoing in connection with that infamous photo of him smoking a bong at a party. The photo was published two weeks ago in a British tabloid and ignited a worldwide furror. Moments ago, the sheriff in Richland County, South Carolina announced that no one at the party would be prosecuted.

Here's a part of the statement read by Sheriff Leon Lott at the news conference:

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"I had nothing to do with Michael Phelps coming to Columbia and making a bad decision. He did that. His bad decision and the highly published photo placed me and the Richland County Sheriff's Department in a no win situation. Ignore it and be criticized or address it and be criticized. I chose to do what was right. While to some it may not have been the most popular decision, it was and is the right decision because of the law and the negative impact it could have on our children in Richland County.

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Michael Phelps is truly an American sports hero. I, along with the rest of America, cheered his victories and felt pride when he stood on the podium to receive his medals.

Even with his star status he is still obligated to obey the laws of our state. He is not immune from his responsibilities to do what is right. He is also human and can make a mistake.....Our message has to be loud, clear, and consistent, don't do drugs."

Phelps has called his judgment bad and said he would learn from his mistake.



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