Former Olympian Klete Keller makes 1st court appearance after being charged in connection to Capitol riots

0
0

DENVER – Two-time Olympic gold medal swimmer Klete Keller appeared in U.S. District Court of Colorado Thursday, after being charged a day prior in connection with the siege of our nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6.

Keller, 38, is charged with obstructing law enforcement, knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds for his alleged participation in the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol last week.

During the hearing Thursday, Keller was advised by the judge he could face up to 11 years in prison if he’s found guilty on all three charges: Up to five years for the first count, a year for the second, and up to five years in prison for the third count.

Court documents state the FBI used Keller’s height, his Colorado driver’s license photo, and his Team USA jacket’s visibility in videos to positively identify him.

In a video posted by Townhall reporter Julio Rosas, which was first reported by SwimSwam and The New York Times, Keller allegedly appears in the video as the tall, bearded man wearing a Team USA jacket inside the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

SwimSwam reported former teammates and coaches were able to identify Keller from videos shown online. The Times also reported that they received numerous identifications on Keller.

Keller, who was released following the Thursday hearing on a personal recognizance bond after promising the judge he would appear at all future court dates, was allowed to travel out of state to North Carolina to see his family one more time before the start of his criminal case.

The judge said he would not be allowed to travel after that, and also ordered him to surrender his passport by next Tuesday.

On Wednesday, United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland released a statement before Keller’s charges were filed in response to Keller’s alleged involvement in the Capitol riots.

“First off, I strongly condemn the actions of the rioters at the U.S. Capitol,” Hirshland said in a statement posted to Twitter.

Hirshland added that those actions go against the committee’s values.

“At home, and around the world, Team USA athletes are held to a very high standard as they represent our country on the field of play and off,” Hirshland said. “What happened in Washington, D.C., was a case where that standard was clearly not met.”