Klete Keller, Olympic gold medalist swimmer, gets 6 months in home detention for Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Olympic gold medalist swimmer Klete Keller was sentenced to six months of home detention for joining the mob’s attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Keller, who pleaded guilty to a felony charge, was also ordered to serve three years of probation, complete 360 hours of community service, and undergo 10 hours of supervision per month. Prosecutors had recommended a 10-month prison sentence, but the judge believed Keller’s time would be better spent speaking to teenagers and college students about his mistakes.

Video evidence showed Keller leading profane chants and singing the national anthem in the Capitol. He resisted efforts from police to remove him from the building and was quickly identified by authorities due to his towering 6’6″ frame.

After leaving the Capitol, Keller threw his USA team jacket in a trash can and smashed his cellphone with a hammer. He surrendered to authorities about a week after returning home to Colorado. Keller’s lawyer stated that he threw away the jacket out of shame after encountering a young boy and his father on a train and feeling like he had let them down.

Keller has been cooperating with investigators since his guilty plea, providing substantial assistance that led to leniency in his sentencing. He has experienced personal and financial hardships since retiring from professional swimming, including losing a job and regular visitation with his children. Last year, he signed paperwork for his children to be adopted by their stepfather.

**** Historical Background ****

On January 6, 2021, Keller attended then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally near the White House before marching with a crowd to the Capitol. He entered the building through an open door on the Upper West Terrace and remained inside for nearly an hour. Keller came within 50 feet of the Senate chamber during the riot. He won multiple medals, including two golds, while competing for the U.S. at three summer Olympics.

Approximately 1,200 people have been charged with Capitol riot-related federal crimes, with nearly 900 of them pleading guilty or being convicted. Over 700 individuals have been sentenced, with roughly two-thirds receiving prison sentences ranging from three days to 22 years.

Despite his personal and financial struggles, Keller hopes his case serves as a warning to anyone who rationalizes illegal conduct, especially in a moment of political fervor. Consequences of his actions will follow him and his family for the rest of their lives.

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