Olympic gold medalist Klete Keller sentenced for Capitol riot

Olympic gold medalist Klete Keller sentenced for Capitol riot

Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Klete Keller was sentenced on Friday to three years of probation, six months house arrest and 360 hours of community service for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The 6-foot-6 freestyler was easily identified towering over police and fellow MAGA extremists before throwing his Team USA jacket into a Capitol Hill trash can. He pleaded guilty to a felony count in 2021, made no excuses for his admittedly “criminal” conduct and quickly agreed to cooperate with authorities.

This image from police body-worn video, contained government's sentencing memorandum and annotated by the source, shows Klete Keller in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. Keller was sentenced on Dec. 1, 2023, to six months of home detention for joining the mob's attack on the U.S. Capitol. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon sentenced him to three years of probation and ordered him to perform 360 hours of community service.(Justice Department via AP)
This image from police body-worn video, contained government’s sentencing memorandum and annotated by the source, shows Klete Keller in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (Justice Department via AP)

“If there ever was a case that screams out for probation, this is it,” according to U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, who reasoned Keller would be more productive warning teenagers not to follow his lead than he would be serving the 10-month prison sentence sought by prosecutors.

Prosecutors contended that after ditching his distinct jacket, the Olympian smashed his cellphone with a hammer, well aware that he was “fleeing a crime scene.”

However, according to Keller’s lawyer, the defendant threw his jacket away out of shame after encountering a young boy on a train, who asked about his Olympic triumphs and requested a photo.

Keller felt that “he let this young man down by behaving the way that he did, and the moment that this young man and father find out what he did, their admiration for him would be shattered,” his attorney wrote in a court filing.

Keller — who won medals in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games — fell on hard times, lived out of his car and worked three jobs to pay child support after separating from his wife in 2014. Following his participation in the attack on the Capitol, he found himself out of work again and even lost regular visitation with his kids, his lawyer said. Last year, he signed paperwork for his children to be legally adopted by their stepdad.

“I hope my case serves as a warning to anyone who rationalizes illegal conduct, especially in a moment of political fervor,” Keller wrote in a letter to the court. “The consequences of my behavior will follow me and my family for the rest of our lives.”

With News Wire Services 

Check Also

Adams defense fund spending up to$743K on legal fees amid FBI Turkey probe

Adams defense fund spending up to$743K on legal fees amid FBI Turkey probe

Mayor Adams’ legal defense trust has spent more than $743,000 on lawyer fees so far …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *