HomeFeaturedFormer Olympic Gold Medalist Klete Keller Sentenced for U.S. Capitol During Riot

Former Olympic Gold Medalist Klete Keller Sentenced for U.S. Capitol During Riot

Klete Keller reportedly threw U.S.A. Olympic jacket in a trash can.

Former Olympic Gold Medalist Klete Keller has been sentenced to probation and home confinement after being convicted with being inside U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot.

Former Olympic swimmer Klete Keller. Credit DOJ

United States Department of Justice


Colorado Man and Former Olympian Sentenced for Felony Obstruction During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

Friday, December 1, 2023

For Immediate Release

U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Columbia

WASHINGTON – A Colorado man was sentenced today in the District of Columbia after he pleaded guilty to a felony charge stemming from his conduct during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election.

Klete Derik Keller, 41, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon to 36 months of probation and six months of home confinement. Keller pleaded guilty to one count of felony obstruction of Congress on Sept. 29, 2021.

According to court documents, Keller, a former U.S. Olympic swimmer, traveled to Washington, D.C., from his home in Colorado to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally at the Ellipse on Jan. 6, 2021, and to listen to former President Trump and others address the crowd. Keller wore a blue jacket with the American flag on the sleeve, an Olympic patch on the front, and “U.S.A.” in large white letters on one sleeve and across the back.

After the rally, Keller marched to the U.S. Capitol building with thousands of others and at approximately 2:30 p.m., Keller breached the restricted Capitol grounds on the west side of the building and eventually climbed the stairs to the Upper West Side, passing by damaged scaffolding intended for the presidential Inauguration.

At about 2:39 p.m., Keller breached the Capitol through the open Upper West Terrace Door on the west side of the building leading to the Rotunda—his phone up and appearance concealed by a beanie, sunglasses, and a bandana pulled over his face. Keller remained in the building and participated in the riot for nearly an hour. Throughout his time in the Capitol, Keller photographed and recorded his surroundings.

By 2:41 p.m., Keller and a large mob of rioters made their way down the Senate Hallway connecting the Rotunda to the Senate Chamber. The mob began chanting at police officers in the area, shouting, “You serve us!” The rioters toward the front of the mob began pressing up against police. Keller joined the mob, moved forward and began leading chants of “F—Nancy Pelosi!” and “F— Chuck Schumer!”

Following Keller’s chants, the mob of rioters began to push forward against the officers. Other rioters began chanting, “Our house!”, “F— McConnell!”, and “Push!” while advancing. Some rioters at the front physically engaged with the officers and used a stolen riot shield to push forward while others clad in military-grade tactical gear heaved forward and shouted, “Push! Push! Push! Get in there!” After minutes of using their collective weight to move forward, open-source video shows the rioters prevailed, successfully pushing the line of officers back.

When the rioters began gaining ground toward the Senate Chamber, the officers deployed chemical-irritant spray over the mob. Many of them, including Keller, retreated to the Rotunda. Keller, however, still did not leave the building. By 2:51 p.m., Keller was recording his surroundings throughout the Rotunda and interacting with other rioters unlawfully in the Capitol and continued doing so for over ten minutes. At approximately 3:02 p.m., law enforcement officers entered the Rotunda, attempting to regain control of the area and clear rioters out of the building. Keller refused to leave.

As officers began moving some of the rioters toward the east exit, Keller approached the officers in the center of the Rotunda and resisted the officers’ efforts to clear the building by repeatedly moving to the front of the line and leaning backwards into the line of officers. Court documents say that it took multiple officers to move Keller through the Rotunda and toward the exit. Police repeatedly attempted to remove Keller and the other rioters from the Rotunda. At one point as officers attempted to remove Keller, he ripped his elbow away from an Officer’s grasp and, shaking one of the officers off of him, Keller turned to face the officers and repeatedly yelled, “Take it easy!” and “Settle down!” He defiantly yelled, “Why do we have to leave?”

Finally, at approximately 3:13 p.m., after multiple interactions with officers, Keller exited the Rotunda and entered the East Rotunda Lobby. He remained inside the Lobby for another 17 minutes, clapping and cheering on other rioters. At around 3:30 p.m., officers finally succeeded in ejecting Keller from the Capitol.

Leaving the Capitol, court documents say that Keller was aware of the criminal nature of his actions. Keller threw his U.S.A. Olympic jacket in the trash can on the way back to his hotel. The government was never able to recover that jacket. Keller also took a hammer and smashed his phone into pieces soon after January 6. Despite multiple search warrants and other legal process, the government never recovered any of Keller’s photographs or videos he recorded in or around the Capitol.

Keller was arrested on Jan. 14, 2021, by the FBI.

This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington and Denver Field Offices, including the Colorado Springs Resident Agency. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.

In the 34 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,200 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 400 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, a felony. The investigation remains ongoing.

Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov

Updated December 1, 2023

Source: CBS Colorado

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