A U.S. Olympic gold medalist in swimming, Klete Keller, who confessed to participating in the mob that attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and obstructing Congress’ certification of the 2020 presidential election results, was sentenced on Friday to three years of probation and six months of home detention.
Keller pleaded guilty in 2021 to the felony crime of obstructing an official proceeding after being identified inside the Capitol Rotunda during the riot due to the U.S.A. athletic jacket he was wearing. He later admitted to attempting to delete evidence on his phone and discarding the jacket, as per court records.
The Justice Department noted his cooperation with investigators in various cases, and the judge, Richard Leon, chose not to impose prison time, stating, “If there was one case that screamed out for probation, this is it.” The judge emphasized Keller’s remorse and willingness to serve, considering the case distinct from other January 6 cases.
Prosecutors had urged a 10-month prison sentence, describing Keller’s actions as endangering officers, Members of Congress, and others inside the Capitol. Keller, a former Olympian, swam for the U.S. in three consecutive Summer Olympics and won gold and other medals.
In their defense, Keller and his team requested leniency, acknowledging the gravity of his involvement and highlighting his responsibilities as a husband and father.
In court on Friday, Keller admitted causing damage to the electoral process, apologized to victims, including Congress members and voters, and expressed deep regret in a letter to the judge. He also pledged to complete 360 hours of community service, including speaking to students about lessons learned from the January 6 attack.
Prosecutors acknowledged Keller’s early and consistent cooperation in the federal investigation, stating that his conduct on January 6 warranted serious punishment, but his post-incident cooperation was relevant.
In sentencing, Judge Leon emphasized the importance of remorse and assigned community service, expecting Keller to succeed. Keller’s attorney expressed satisfaction with the outcome as they left court on Friday evening.