What did Klete Keller do? Charges explored as Olympic gold medalist swimmer sentenced to prison over Jan 6 Capitol riot
Olympic gold medalist swimmer 41-year-old Klete Keller admitted to having been involved in the January 6 Capitol riot. On Friday, December 1, 2023, Keller was sentenced to 36 months of probation, six months of home confinement, and 360 hours of community service. Keller is one of the most high-profile and well-known people involved in the Capitol riot.
About 1200 people have been charged with being connected to the 2021 riot. Among them, about 900 have already been convicted or pleaded guilty. The video has also captured Keller inside the US Capitol building, yelling inappropriate things Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
Well-known swimmer, Klete Keller has been sentenced to 36 months of probation for being involved in the Capitol riot in January 2021
The US Capitol riot that took place on January 6, 2021, charged several people. One of the well-known names was that of good medalist Klete Keller. The swimmer who retired in 2008 had won five medals from the 2004 and 2008 Games. In a pre-sentencing memo, prosecutors wrote,
"Klete Derik Keller once wore the American flag as an Olympian. On January 6, 2021, he threw that flag in a trash can."
However, they said that they believed Keller was actually remorseful for his acts. Keller further told US District Judge Richard Leon,
"I understand my actions were criminal and that I am fully responsible for my conduct. I stand before you feeling ashamed and profoundly embarrassed."
He added that January 6 was a "terrible day," as reported by ABC News. Several convicted people who were convicted faced several forms of sentences, and this included probation and house detention to imprisonment. Keller spoke in the court during the trial and said,
"I have no excuse for why I am in front of you today. I understand my actions were criminal and that I am fully responsible for my conduct."
Prosecutors sought for a longer sentencing than probation
Klete Keller pleaded guilty to only a single count of obstructing an official proceeding. Prosecutors sought ten months behind bars. However, the defense lawyers claimed a lesser sentence would be fair for him. Prosecutors also claimed that the sentencing of probation would send a message to the public that such actions could be done, and they would go unpunished.
However, the defense team argued that Klete Keller has already suffered a lot during the "pre-trial detention." Judge Richard Leon said,
"If there was ever a case for probation, this is it."
The judge also asked Keller to talk to the youth about "how he learned from his mistakes." To this, the Olympian responded, saying,
"Thank you, your honor, I will not let you down. I condemn the violence of that day. "
He was also seen apologizing for the actions that transpired in January 2021. Klete Keller added,
"I am ashamed to admit that I wanted to interrupt and influence Congress's certification of the Electoral College vote."
During the trial it was also mentioned that on the footage, Keller was seen being inside the Capitol for sometime less than an hour. According to prosecutors, Keller's actions during the riot can be described as "unconscionable" and that they "will forever be a stain on this country's narrative."