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Michael Phelps investigation continues in South Carolina

February 13, 2009 | 11:32 am

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps has hired a lawyer in connection with an ongoing drug investigation in Columbia, S.C., but the Baltimore Sun reports that the Olympian has not been contacted by enforcement officials and has not been charged with anything.

The investigation began after a photograph of Phelps with a marijuana bong in hand appeared in a British tabloid. Dick Harpootlian, a defense attorney in Richland County, told the Sun that he represents one of eight people who have been arrested in connection with the investigation.

The sheriff has yet to confirm that any arrests have occurred.

Here's some of what Kevin Van Valkenburg and Childs Walker reported this morning in the Sun (which is a sister newspaper of The Times):

South Carolina authorities continue to gather evidence from a party attended by Michael Phelps in November at which he was photographed allegedly smoking marijuana, but even as more arrests are made and witnesses interviewed, what's still unclear is what might happen to the 23-year-old Olympic swimmer.

A lawyer representing a man who attended the party said the Richland County Sheriff's Department investigation seems to be targeting Phelps -- to the point investigators are asking questions only about the 14-time gold-medal winner.

But Phelps, who has hired a lawyer, hasn't been charged with anything or been contacted by the sheriff's department, according to Drew Johnson, a representative from Phelps' management company, Octagon.

Kellogg Co. recently said that it would not renew a post-Beijing Games marketing contract with Phelps, and USA Swimming slapped him with a three-month suspension that began on Feb. 5.

-- Greg Johnson

Photo: Michael Phelps, left, answers questions from reporters on Feb. 6 as his trainer Bob Bowman, right, looks on at the Meadowbrook Aquatic Center in Baltimore. Credit: Gail Burton / Associated Press