Klete Keller, an Olympic swimmer from USC, agreed to a plea bargain on Wednesday. He faced seven charges for participating in the U.S. Capitol riot, and he will not go to jail as long as he completes his punishment.”
In a hearing in the U.S. District Court, Keller pleaded guilty to one felony charge of obstruction of an official proceeding. He will cooperate with prosecutors.
Keller, 39, was taller than everyone else in the Capitol rotunda. He had a large beard and was wearing a jacket that said “USA” on it.
In a statement of offense, Keller admits to “trying to influence and impede” Congress’s certification of the electoral college votes. He throws away the Team USA jacket after that.
I destroyed my phone and memory card that had pictures from inside the Capitol building. And I threw away my red, white, and blue jacket.
A sentence for a felony can be up to 20 years in prison, but the federal sentencing guidelines for this offense say that someone with this charge should get between 21 and 27 months in jail. No date has been set yet, but the judge scheduled a hearing on December 16th.
If you plead guilty to a felony, you will not vote and cannot have a gun.
Edward MacMahon Jr. didn’t respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington declined to comment too.
During the attack on the Capitol, Townhall Media’s Julio Rosas captured Keller on a video. This first connection between Keller and the riot was found in a story published by SwimSwam on January 11th. The FBI agents watched Keller’s house in Colorado Springs this same day (according to an affidavit unsealed at The Times’ request), and he was charged the next day, January 13th. It turns out that this video played an essential part in his capture.
At the fourteen-minute mark, Keller is still in the Rotunda. He stands taller than people around him and can be seen because many officers are trying to clear him out.
Keller went to the Capitol for a little while. He was in there for about 50 minutes. He also shouted mean words and shook people off his hands.
After being charged, Keller turned himself into authorities. FBI agents searched his house the next day. They found a black bag that had nothing else inside of it.
The FBI agent said that they were told that KELLER left his cell phone and jacket in Washington, but the agent cannot confirm this.
Klete Keller deleted his social media accounts and then quit his job at Hoff & Leigh. He had been posting messages on social media that supported President Trump.
USA Swimming said that Keller’s actions are not what the organization stands for, and he has not competed since 2008.
A federal grand jury indicted Keller. He is charged with seven counts, including disorderly conduct in a restricted building, civil disorder, and obstruction of an official proceeding. More than 600 people have been arrested in connection with the riot.
The man was free on a personal recognizance bond and has not made any public statements since the riot, only said brief greetings or responded to questions during court appearances conducted through video conferencing.
He told people that he was sorry and wanted to turn it around. Jon Urbanchek, who had coached Keller for many years, said this earlier this year.
Keller’s biography was removed from Hoff & Leigh’s website, but Colorado records show that he started working for the firm again in May.
Klete Keller won two medals at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. This was his first time winning an award. He also won three NCAA titles for USC in 2001 and 2002. At the Athens Olympics, he had a signature moment when he beat Ian Thorpe, an Australian star, to win gold with his teammates Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and Peter Vanderkaay. Keller won another gold medal in that event at the Beijing Olympics four years later.
Klete Keller graduated from USC in 2009 with a degree in public policy and real estate development. But life after swimming was not easy. He had trouble holding jobs, and he also had a divorce that happened in 2015. Now he lives in Colorado, where he’s found new hope.
“The pressure was more difficult to deal with when I went from swimming to having three kids and a wife,” Keller said in an interview. “I felt more pain and frustration than I did when swimming.” He also said he had not adjusted his expectations of the world because of his swimming success, so it was harder for him to handle failure.