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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Olympic medalist sentenced for breaching US Capitol

Klete Keller will spend six months under house arrest for his role in the 2021 riot

US Olympic gold medalist swimmer Klete Keller has been sentenced to six months of home detention for participating in the storming of the Capitol compound on January 6, 2021.

The sentence read out in a Washington court on Friday also includes three years of probation and 360 hours of community service. Keller had previously pleaded guilty to obstruction of Congress.

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Keller, 41, represented the US at the Olympics in 2000, 2004 and 2008, winning four medals including two golds.

He was part of the mob of former US President Donald Trump supporters that clashed with police and briefly overran the Capitol building when Congress was in the process of certifying the election victory of Joe Biden, which Trump claimed had been rigged.

Inside the Capitol, Keller wore his Team USA Olympic jacket and yelled “F**k Nancy Pelosi!” and “F**k Chuck Schumer!” about the then-speaker of the House and Senate majority leader, respectively.

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According to the prosecutors, at one point he yanked his elbow away from a police officer who attempted to clear the building. The prosecution acknowledged, however, that the former athlete did not engage in physical violence.

Nevertheless, assistant US Attorney Troy Edwards Jr. sought a 10-month prison sentence, arguing that probation would send “a message that you can do this and not be punished adequately.” 

Keller’s lawyer, Zachary Deubler, asked the court for leniency, describing his client as a “flawless probationer” and noting that he had cooperated with the authorities on other January 6 cases.

I have no excuse for why I am in front of you today,” Keller said in court. “I understand my actions were criminal and that I am fully responsible for my conduct.”