Scott MacFarlane of NBC4 News in Washington, D.C., is reporting that former Olympic swimmer Klete Keller is nearing a plea deal with prosecutors for his role in the January 6 insurrection of the U.S. Capitol.
According to MacFarlane, both prosecutors and Keller’s defense lawyer have confirmed the offer of a plea deal, and prosecutors say that they expect Keller to accept the deal.
Alert: Prosecutors say they’ve extended plea offer to former Olympic swimmer Klete Keller in Jan 6 case. And they say they expect Keller to accept.
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) August 4, 2021
Keller originally pleaded not guilty to the 7 charges he’s facing in federal court.
Sentencing for others involved have ranged, with some of the primary participants expected to face years in prison. The first person sentenced was a 49-year old Indiana woman who according to prosecutors was in the Capitol for about 10 minutes and didn’t engage in any violent conduct or damage any property. She pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of illegal protest and was sentenced to three years of probation, 120 hours of community service, and $500 in restitution.
The first person sentenced to prison time in mid-July was Paul Allard Hodgkins after pleading guilty to one felony count of entering the Capitol to obstruct Congress after being recorded inside the Senate chamber, though according to prosecutors he too was not violent and did not cause any damage.
On January 6th, supporters of President Donald Trump, who lost the 2020 presidential election, broke into the United States Capitol Building and clashed with police. The riot happened as Congress was tallying electoral votes in last November’s election, in which President-elect Joe Biden defeated Trump.
Multiple people within the swimming community identified Keller in video footage of the mob of people who had broken into the Capitol Rotunda. The 6’6″ Keller stood out in videos due to his height, and because he appears to be wearing his U.S. Olympic gear in the video. Keller represented Team USA in three Olympic Games: 2000, 2004, and 2008.
Publicly-available footage of Keller in the U.S. Capitol did not show him causing any damage or participating in violence. At one point, he found himself up against police, but appeared with his arms up in a passive position. Most of the footage shows Keller gazing up at the Capitol Rotunda.
Keller’s charges include:
- Civil disorder
- Obstruction of an official proceeding, and aiding and abetting
- Entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds
- Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds
- Impeding passage through the Capitol Grounds or buildings
- Parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building
After he was first charged, Keller turned himself in to federal authorities on January 14th, 2021. He was released without bail, agreeing to not return to Washington D.C. prior to the presidential inauguration of President Biden on January 21. He was also required to not possess firearms and retained the ability to travel from Colorado to visit his children in North Carolina.