Olympic Swimmer Sentenced in Capitol Attack

Klete Keller wore his team jacket during Jan. 6 riot
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2021 6:50 PM CDT
Updated Dec 1, 2023 4:35 PM CST
Olympian Pleads Guilty to Role in Capitol Riot
In this Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008 photo, relay swimmer Klete Keller is seen after a men's 4x200-meter freestyle relay heat during the swimming competitions in the National Aquatics Center at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.   (AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle, File)
UPDATE Dec 1, 2023 4:35 PM CST

A former Olympic swimming champion was sentenced to 36 months probation Friday for his role in the attack on the Capitol. "I have no excuse for why I am in front of you today," Klete Keller told the court in Washington, the AP reports. "I understand my actions were criminal and that I am fully responsible for my conduct." US District Judge Richard Leon also ordered Keller to perform 360 hours of community service. Prosecutors wanted a prison sentence of 10 months, well below guidelines, because he'd cooperated and helped with other cases. Keller asked for probation only, per USA Today. "My behavior set a terrible example for young people who looked up to me," Keller had written to the judge.

Sep 29, 2021 6:50 PM CDT

Klete Keller, the two-time Olympic gold medalist who wore his Team USA jacket to the Capitol riot, has pleaded guilty to taking part in the Jan. 6 attack. The 39-year-old swimmer pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony charge of obstructing an official proceeding as part of a plea deal that will see the other six charges against him dropped, the Washington Post reports. Keller has also agreed to cooperate with the government in other cases related to the attack. Keller, whose five Olympic medals include golds from Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, will be sentenced at a later date, reports CNBC. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, but the recommended sentence, which the judge is not bound by, is 21 to 27 months.

Prosecutors said Keller spent almost an hour in the Capitol building and was heard shouting slogans including "F--- Nancy Pelosi." His attorney, Edward B. MacMahon, told US District Court Judge Richard J. Leon that Keller is "trying to make amends for the terrible mistake he made" and hopes to "start his life over," the Post reports. Keller admitted that he tried to get rid of evidence that he was at the Capitol and had thrown away his phone and the team jacket he was wearing that day, TMZ reports. Court documents, however, say FBI agents easily recognized the 6-foot-6 Keller in footage from the Capitol. (More Klete Keller stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.