Feds Request 10-Month Prison Sentence For Olympic Swimmer Klete Keller in January 6 Case

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Klete Keller could see a relatively-light prison sentence for his involvement in the insurrection of the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021.

On Friday, the U.S. government requested that the District Court of Columbia hand Keller a 10-month sentence for his involvement in the riots, which is significantly shorter than the sentencing guideline of 21-27 months in similar cases.

In the official sentencing memo, the government specifically notes Keller’s status as an Olympian and how he “was in a unique position to know better,” but ultimately concludes that he should receive a shorter sentence than most due to the fact he’s shown “genuine remorse” and “has tried to right his wrong for nearly three years.”

“What Klete Keller and others did on January 6 was unconscionable,” the memo reads. “It will forever be a stain on this country’s narrative, and it continues to impact our ability to credibly lead by example as a democratic republic.

“A former Olympian with an opportunity to see up close America’s ideals and represent its position in the world, Keller was in a unique position to know better. He should be punished, and his punishment should include imprisonment. But he has also shown genuine remorse and, more importantly, he has tried to right his wrong for nearly three years.”

The feds requested 36 months of supervised release, $2,000 in restitution and the mandatory assessment of $100 in addition to the 10-month sentence.

In July, Keller had his sentencing hearing postponed for the third time until Dec. 1, and the defense argued the delay was warranted due to “the nature of Mr. Keller’s ongoing cooperation… and the potential effect that such cooperation may have on Mr. Keller’s eventual sentence.”

The memo details the fact that Keller self-surrendered within a week of his arrest warrant being issued, and how he had met and proferred with the government by the summer of 2021. By September of 2021, he reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors for felony obstruction, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, though Paul Allard Hodgkins spent just eight months behind bars in Florida after entering a guilty plea for the same felony charge two years ago in Florida.

Keller’s attorney has requested a probationary sentence and order of restitution (avoiding imprisonment) that is proportional to his conduct on Jan .6 “while also taking into account the substantial period of time that Mr. Keller has already spent on pre-trial probation—nearly three years—and his continued cooperation with government investigators.”

Keller, now 41, was first identified in videos from the insurrection wearing a U.S. Olympic Team jacket.

Keller resigned from his position as a commercial real estate agent at Hoff & Leigh, a real estate agency in Colorado Springs, after news of his presence at the capitol broke. The agency at the time said in a statement that “Hoff & Leigh supports the right of free speech and lawful protest but we cannot condone actions that violate the rule of law. We pride ourselves on our deeply held core values of family, loyalty, community and stewardship. We continue to stand by these values.”

Keller has since been reinstated as an associated broker at the company.

He admitted to spending “a little less than one hour” inside the Capitol as part of an attempt to stop or delay certification of the electoral college vote for the 2020 election. He also said he took phone photos and videos inside the Capitol, then destroyed the phone, its memory card, and threw away the Team USA jacket within 48 hours.

According to his plea, Keller yelled, “F*** Nancy Pelosi!” and “F*** Chuck Schumer!” when he was in the rotunda.

The Capitol riot resulted in the deaths of five people, including a police officer. More than 1,000 people have since been arrested, more than half of whom have pleaded guilty, according to the Department of Justice.

A three-time Olympian, Keller won two gold medals as a member of the American men’s 800-meter freestyle relay team at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. He also picked up a silver in the event at Sydney 2000 in addition to a pair of bronze medals in the 400 free at Sydney 200 and Athens 2004. He competed collegiately at USC for two years from 2000-01 before turning professional. Until 2007, he trained at Michigan’s Club Wolverine under coaches Jon Urbanchek and later Bob Bowman.

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7 months ago

NO prison time for Klete Keller! https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-67597397

7 months ago

That’s the least he should get for his insurrective federal crime
…and for what?
Breaking and entering a federal building to supporting a fat democracy hating morally bankrupt horrible human being.

Instead he got probation by lying about his remorse for his act.

Last edited 7 months ago by TFDM
7 months ago

Hypothetical, would masters swimming ban Klete like they did Lance Armstrong?

Reply to  Jon
7 months ago

USMS doesn’t really have great mechanisms for bans. There are tons of really, really terrible people tangential to swimming that haven’t been banned by USMS, and I don’t think it’s a can of worms that they really want to open if they can help it.

That’s without getting at the question of whether USMS rules would even allow them to ban Klete.

Shawn Hicks
7 months ago

This is a SWIMMING magazine, not a POLITICAL magazine. The political comments piss people off, and they do nothing to encourage our common love for swimming. 

7 months ago

Swimming as a preventative against drowning or an inactive old age is a life skill; doing so just to see how fast one can go is not; and the opportunity to develop one’s interest and talent in a field that, like all competitive sports, is not intrinsically valuable like, say, cancer research is more privilege than most people on the face of the planet will ever experience. Keller’s post-retirement response to having to make a life for himself beyond swimming has revealed him to be a man of extremely poor character. Like his fellow Trump supporters, he has shown himself to be a spoiled, entitled, selfish, angry, perpetually dissatisfied hypocrite who believes that bootstrapping is for “others” (and we all… Read more »

7 months ago

Wearing your Olympic swim parka to an insurrection? Wow. SAD.

Pieter H
Reply to  AquaholicSB
7 months ago

Ironically wearing his proudest moment in his life to attend the most unfortunate moment in his life

7 months ago

Klete may be a delusional idiot who stormed the US Capitol for Donald Trump of all people, but he’s also an insurrectionist. Make no mistake about it. He deserves a lengthy prison sentence.

7 months ago

The law is suppose to punish wrongdoing and act as a deterrent for future crime. If January 6th went unpunished, what is to stop people from behaving the same way in future elections?

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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