Men Charged After Protesting Ryan Lochte on 'Dancing With the Stars'
ABC NEWS -
The two men who interrupted Ryan Lochte's first appearance on "Dancing With the Stars" are now facing criminal charges.
The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office filed criminal complaints on Monday against Sam Sotoodeh and Barzeen Soroudi, who rushed the stage of the ABC show earlier this month to protest Lochte's casting.
They have been charged with two misdemeanors - leaving a spectator area and entering a stage and interfering with a performance - and could face six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Their arraignment has been set for Oct. 4.
During the season premiere of "Dancing With the Stars," Sotoodeh and Soroudi interrupted the broadcast by stepping onto the dance floor and screaming "liar" at Lochte - a reference to the Olympian's claim that he was robbed at the Rio Summer Olympics. He later said that he "overexaggerated" the story, and the United States Olympic Committee banned him for 10 months. Sotoodeh and Soroudi were detained by security and arrested for misdemeanor trespassing, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The next day, they were released on $1,000 bail.
"Everyone deserves a second chance, but we had to say our protest, as well," Soroudi told ABC News.
As a result of the incident, the show conducted "a full evaluation of security procedures" and planned to make any changes necessary, a representative said at the time. Lochte remains a competitor on the program.
"When I was asked to do the show, the one thing that I kept hearing was that it was like joining a big family. After Monday's incident, I now know what that means," he wrote on Instagram at the time of the protest. "I have gotten so much love from everyone on the show, including my partner Cheryl [Burke], my fellow competitors, the producers, the security team and its fans. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the show, and more than ever, I am dedicated to my new family and to working hard to do my best."