Olympian swimmer charged in connection with Capitol riot

FAN Editor

U.S. Olympic swimmer Klete Keller was charged Wednesday in connection with last week’s deadly Capitol riot, court records show. 

A criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., showed Keller was charged with obstructing law enforcement, knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

Videos appear to show the Olympic gold medalist inside the Capitol Rotunda on January 6 sporting a USA Olympics team jacket. As protesters clashed with police, law enforcement officers can be seen attempting multiple times to push back the crowd that included a man who appears to be Keller. SwimSwam, a news website that covers competitive swimming, first identified Keller as possibly being one of the members of a Trump-supporting mob that attacked the Capitol. The New York Times also spoke to unnamed former teammates and coaches who said he was part of the crowd. 

Federal agents confirmed it was Keller in the videos in part by matching his Colorado driving license photo with the person seen in the footage, according to the criminal complaint signed by an FBI special agent Matthew R. Barofsky. Keller, who stands at 6 feet 6 inches tall, also stood out because he is one of the tallest people in the videos, the complaint noted. 

Klete Keller
Klete Keller in 2008. Donald Miralle/Getty

Keller was part of the U.S. swim team at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics. Along with Michael Phelps, he was a member of the relay team that won the gold medal in the 4X200m freestyle in 2004 and 2008. The team also set a new world record in the same event at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Melbourne in 2007. Prior to law enforcement identifying Keller as a participant in the riot, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee released a statement to CBS News on Tuesday condemning the actions last week. 

“We support the right to peacefully protest and express values and viewpoints in a respectful and lawful manner – that is what makes our democracy strong. Sadly, that is not what happened in this case,” the committee said. 

Keller has also resigned from real estate company Hoff & Leigh in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he had been working as an independent contractor, according to a statement from the company.

“Hoff & Leigh supports the right of free speech and lawful protest but we cannot condone actions that violate the rule of law,” the company said. 

The riot led to five deaths, including a Capitol Police officer. House Democrats accused President Trump of inciting the assault on the Capitol and voted Wednesday to impeach him for the second time. Ten House Republicans also voted in favor of impeachment.

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