Michael Phelps Learns His Lesson

The Michael-Phelps-smokes-pot non-story I blogged earlier has taken a depressing turn and brought back a familiar character, according to an AP story by Meg Kinnard:

Olympic superstar Michael Phelps could face criminal charges as part of the fallout from a photo that surfaced showing the swimmer smoking from a marijuana pipe at a University of South Carolina house party.

A spokesman for Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, who is known for his tough stance on drugs, said Tuesday the department was investigating.

As it turns out, Sheriff Lott has appeared here in Windypundit before. He’s the moron who thinks it’s a great idea to fight drugs using a military armored personnel carrier, complete with a full-size “Ma Deuce” .50 cal machine gun capable of shooting clear through walls and killing people for miles in every direction.

Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Chris Cowan explains:

“The bottom line is, if he broke the law, and he did it in Richland County, he’s going to be charged,” Cowan said. “And there’s no difference between Michael Phelps and several other people that we arrest for the same type of a charge everyday.”

There sure as hell is a difference: Arresting a famous athlete will make Sheriff Lott famous, and Sheriff Lott desperately wants to be famous:

The Richland County sheriff has long sought to fight drug crimes. He rose from patrol officer to captain of the narcotics division in the early 1990s, after the television series “Miami Vice” made its splash.

Lott played the part well. He wore stylish suits and had long hair then. He drove a Porsche seized from a drug dealer and even worked undercover with federal agents in Florida.

It doesn’t help Phelps that he apologized. The Sheriff’s office is calling it a “partial confession” and saying that they only have to prove the incident took place in Richland County. I’m not convinced it’s much of a confession since (a) the apology was released by his staff, not Phelps himself, and (b) none of the versions I’ve seen admit to any criminal act.

In any case, I’m hoping Phelps has learned his lesson. That lesson, of course, is Never Admit Nothing. Given the large amount of endorsement money at stake, it really is million-dollar legal advice.

(Hat tip: Radley Balko)

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