Ex-Olympic swimmer Klete Keller charged over presence at Capitol riots
Swimmer and Olympic gold medalist Klete Keller was charged in federal court Wednesday after law enforcement officers identified him as one of the individuals who illegally entered the Capitol during the pro-Trump riot last week.
According to court documents filed by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, authorities were able to identify Keller in social media footage posted by conservative news outlet Townhall Media.
Authorities noted in Wednesday’s legal complaint that a man is visible standing in the Capitol Rotunda wearing a dark jacket with “USA” printed on the back. Later in the video, the man can be seen again as law enforcement officers appear to push him from behind, with the jacket also showing what appeared to be the red and white U.S. Olympic team patch.
Authorities were then able to identify the man as Keller, a three-time Olympian, by comparing his driver’s license photo with the man in the video. The complaint also noted that Colorado state records list Keller’s height at 6-foot-6 and the social media footage shows the man “to be one of the tallest individuals in the video depicting individuals in the Rotunda.”
Based on the evidence, the court charged Keller with obstructing law enforcement and unlawfully entering the Capitol grounds, as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
The charges come after Keller was recognized by former teammates and coaches in social media footage from the Capitol riot that resulted in the deaths of five people.
Swimming news website SwimSwam on Monday was the first to report on Keller’s apparent presence at the riot, noting that at least a dozen people in the swimming community had identified him in video footage posted on social media by a reporter from Townhall.
Keller, a former teammate of swimming superstar Michael Phelps, won five medals in three Olympic games, including gold medals at the 2004 Games in Athens and 2008 Games in Beijing.
Sarah Hirshland, the CEO of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, said in a statement earlier Wednesday the organization planned on waiting for law enforcement to confirm the identity of the person in the video before taking “any appropriate actions of our own.”
“I strongly condemn the actions of the rioters at the U.S. Capitol. They do not represent the values of the United States of America or of Team USA,” Hirshland said in the statement, according to USA Today.
Keller had most recently worked as a real estate agent in Colorado Springs, Colo., with the agency Hoff & Leigh. While the company initially confirmed Keller’s employment to SwimSwam, Hoff & Leigh had removed Keller’s profile from its website by Monday night.
Keller had most recently worked as a real estate agent in Colorado Springs, Colo., with the agency Hoff & Leigh. While the company initially confirmed Keller’s employment to SwimSwam, Hoff & Leigh had removed Keller’s profile from its website by Monday night and released a statement Tuesday saying that Keller, an independent contractor, “resigned from the company,” effective immediately.
“Hoff & Leigh supports the right of free speech and lawful protest but we cannot condone actions that violate the rule of law,” Hoff & Leigh added in the statement. “We pride ourselves on our deeply held core values of family, loyalty, community and stewardship. We continue to stand by these values.”
— Updated 6:42 p.m.