An Olympic gold medalist swimmer has admitted rioting at the US Capitol on January 6 after he was spotted wearing his Team USA jacket.
Klete Keller, 39, was said to have spent about an hour inside the Capitol building and even joined in the ‘F*** Nancy Pelosi’ and ‘F*** Chuck Schumer’ chant.
The gold medalist was arrested in January after his 6’6 frame and jacket saw him identified by people who watched the footage.
He now faces between 21 and 27 months and prison, and struck a plea deal which will see him handed a light sentence in return for snitching on other rioters.
In a statement of offense signed earlier this month, Keller, who admitted one count of obstructing an official event, told how he realized he’d been caught, and tried to cover his tracks.
He said: ‘I destroyed the phone and memory card that contained the photographs and videos I recorded from inside the Capitol building, and I threw away my red, white, and blue ‘USA’ jacket.’
Former Olympic swimmer Klete Keller, circled, has pleaded guilty to felony charges after he was caught taking part in the Capitol riots on January 6
Keller was spotted at the riots because of his significant height and the U.S. Olympics team jacket he was wearing
Klete Keller was a two-time gold medalist winning for the 800-meter relay in the 2004 Athens Olympics and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He is seen standing with his gold medal after the 200-meter freestyle event at the Pan Pacific 2006
‘(Keller) can be seen standing in the Rotunda still wearing the dark colored USA jacket, which also appears to bear a Nike logo on the front right side and a red and white Olympic patch on the front left side,’ an FBI agent wrote in a criminal complaint.
He is scheduled to appear in court again on December 16.
Keller also had another felony count and five misdemeanors dropped from his case after he was formerly indicted on seven charges in February.
Keller was formerly indicted with another felony count and five misdemeanors in February before they were dropped
Edward MacMahon, Keller’s attorney, has said that Keller is sorry for his actions and wants a clean slate.
In his statement of offense, Keller wrote: ‘At the time, I acted to affect the government by stopping or delaying the Congressional proceeding, and, in fact, did so.
‘I accomplished this by intimidating or coercing government personnel who were participating in or supporting the Congressional proceeding.’
Keller, however, was slammed in a statement from U.S. Swimming for his involvement in the riots after his arrest in January.
‘Mr. Keller’s actions in no way represent the values or mission of USA Swimming,’ the statement said.
‘And while once a swimmer at the highest levels of our sport — representing the country and democracy he so willfully attacked — Mr. Keller has not been a member of this organization since 2008.’
Before the riots, Keller was a two-time gold medalist who had achieved a great deal in his career by the time he reached 18.
Klete Keller smiles after winning the 800-meter relay at the National Aquatics Center for the 2008 Beijing Olympics
Keller with Michael Phelps (left center), Ryan Lochte (right center) and Peter Vanderkaay (right) at the the XXI FINA World Championships at Rod Laver Arena in 2007
He received a silver medal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and three individual titles for USC in 2001 and 2002.
He won his gold medals for the 800-meter relay event at the Olympics in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.
After Keller had quit swimming, he dealt serious personal problems including a divorce from his Cari Carr in 2015 and a custody battle for their three children which is still ongoing.
It is unclear if his criminal conviction will affect his chances of regaining custody.
He then moved to Colorado two years later where he was living outside of his car after dealing with financial struggles such as paying child support.
‘I found the real world pressure, much more intimidating, and much more difficult to deal with because I went from swimming to having three kids and a wife within a year, Keller told an Olympic Channel podcast in 2018.
‘I felt when I failed a much more acute sense of pain and frustration and failure than I did with swimming.
‘All those years of success I had with swimming really gave me inaccurate expectations of the world, so it was much harder to cope with the little mini-failures I would experience on any given day.’
Capitol rioters stormed the building after a pro-Trump rally that was held when he lost the 2020 election on January 6
Rioters were seen scaling the Capitol walls in an attempt to break into the building
Keller remains one of about 600 people who were arrested in their involvement with the Capitol attacks.
Like Keller, the rioters were avid Trump supporters who were angered over the ‘stolen’ 2020 election where the former President was defeated by Joe Biden.
The search still continues for the other rioters involved in the attacks.