Olympic gold medalist swimmer Klete Keller was charged on Wednesday with participating in last week's Capitol riots A US Olympic gold medali
Olympic gold medalist swimmer Klete Keller was charged on Wednesday with participating in last week’s Capitol riots
A US Olympic gold medalist swimmer who was spotted at the deadly Capitol riots last week has been charged with participating in the violent insurrection.
Klete Keller, who won two Olympic gold medals as a relay teammate of Michael Phelps, was charged in a federal court in D.C. on Wednesday, court records show.
The 38-year-old is accused of obstructing law enforcement, knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to a criminal complaint.
It comes after Keller, from Las Vegas, and a California doctor were spotted and identified among the angry mob of Trump supporters in footage of the Capitol siege posted online.
At least a dozen people within the sport identified the towering man wearing a US Olympic team jacket inside the building as Keller on Tuesday.
Video showed showed the 6ft 6in five-time Olympic medalist ambling about amid the crowd but not engaging in violent behavior.
In footage taken by Townhall reporter Julio Rosas, Keller is seen towering over the others tussling with riot police beneath the Capitol Rotunda, with his Team USA swimming jacket in clear view.
Klete Keller, circled, was among the rioters inside the Capitol on Wednesday
The 38-year-old from Las Vegas was among the mob, but was not seen attacking police
Keller, wearing his Team USA swim jacket and standing 6’6′ tall, was easily spotted
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee addressed the controversy in a statement on Wednesday as it awaited confirmation from law enforcement.
‘First off, 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,’ USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland said.
‘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. What happened in Washington, D.C., was a case where that standard was clearly not met.
‘The people involved attacked the very fabric of the democracy we all proudly represent and, in turn, also let our community down. I urge everyone associated with Team USA to continue to celebrate our diversity of background and beliefs, stand together against hatred and divisiveness, and use our influence to create positive change in our community,’ she added.
The Las Vegas-born swimmer now works as a real estate broker.
A woman who answered the phone for the Colorado and Ohio-based real estate agency where Keller works told Reuters: ‘We are not commenting on anything right now’, before hanging up.
Keller is a five-times Olympic medalist who held off Australian great Ian Thorpe on the anchor leg of the 4x200m freestyle relay at the 2004 Athens Games to win gold for the United States.
Keller is pictured collecting his bronze medal for the 400m freestyle at the 2004 Olympics
Keller is seen winning the 4 x 200m freestyle relay swimming heat at 2008 Beijing Olympics
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee addressed the controversy in a statement on Wednesday as it awaited confirmation from law enforcement
He swam in the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Olympics.
He won two bronze medals, one silver medal, and two gold medals, both of which he won as part of the 800m freestyle relays in 2004 and 2008.
He also set the American record for the 400m freestyle in 2004 and the world record for the 800m relay in 2007. Both records have since been broken.
Keller pictured as part of the 2008 Olympic team
Keller struggled to adjust to post-Olympic life after 2008, according to the SwimSwam website.
He told the Olympic Channel podcast that swimming had set high expectations for his success, which made him ‘entitled’ in the workplace, and a poor worker.
‘I’ll be honest I wasn’t a good employee for the longest time because I expected it all to come to me as easily as swimming did,’ Keller said.
‘Once things started going south, I lost that enthusiasm.’
In 2014, he and his wife got divorced, after which he lived out of his car for about 10 months.
In an interview with USA Swimming, Keller explained that he did not have visitation rights to see his children for four years.
‘It’s a slow leadup of shirking responsibility, and just letting the little things slide every day.
‘It eventually builds a critical mass and once that critical mass is built it’s that last final straw that breaks the camel’s back,’ Keller told the Olympic Channel, according to SwimSwam.
(L-R) Klete Keller, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Peter Vanderkaay of the USA pose following victory and a new world record in the Men’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Final during the XII FINA World Championships in Melbourne, Australia
He said his outlook on life was getting ‘lower and lower,’ but he was saved by his sister Kalyn Keller, 35, also a professional swimmer who represented the U.S. in the 2004 Olympics.
He worked through this time by teaching swim lessons and running swim clinics.
According to the New York Times, Keller has deleted his social media accounts, several of which the publication said had included a stream of pro-Trump messaging in recent years.
Simone Gold was also identifiable after she staged a press conference on the steps of the Supreme Court in July with America’s Frontline Doctors – a group she founded last year to speak out against the government’s efforts to contain the coronavirus.
Gold’s video promoting hydroxychloroquine was taken down, but not before it was seen by millions of people.
Gold, 55, was among those pictured in an FBI notice published on Friday.
Simone Gold, founder of America’s Frontline Doctors campaign group, was at the Capitol
Gold took a bullhorn to yell her theories about the COVID vaccine being dangerous
Gold (circled) can be seen inside the Capitol during Wednesday’s riots, which killed five people
Gold, center, with other medics protesting COVID lockdowns during the summer of 2020
She confirmed to The Washington Post that she is the person pictured carrying a bullhorn on the Capitol grounds, but said she thought the building was open, and intended to be there to make a speech.
Gold said she was worried that photos of her inside the Capitol would distract from her advocacy work with America’s Frontline Doctors.
‘I do regret being there,’ Gold said.
In video on social media, Gold is seen apparently making a speech during the riots. She told the paper it was the same speech she gave at a rally the day before the insurrection, where she referred to the coronavirus vaccine as an ‘experimental, biological agent deceptively named a vaccine.’
Trump exhorted thousands of supporters to march on the Capitol last Wednesday, prompting chaos in which crowds breached the building and forced the evacuation of both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.
The mob overran the Capitol Police shortly after Trump urged them to ‘fight’ on his behalf
Police try to hold back protesters pushing into a doorway at the Capitol on Wednesday
Trump supporters, egged on by the president himself, stormed the Capitol on Wednesday
The mostly maskless crowd flooded the halls of the Capitol with little resistance from police
Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress
Prosecutors say the charges are just the beginning, with 170 individual cases already opened
Five people, including a police officer, died as a result of the rampage.
Twenty people have been arrested on federal charges so far, with prosecutors saying that figure will sharply increase.
Officials have opened more than 170 subject files on individuals identified as persons who potentially committed crimes at the Capitol.
The Justice Department has already charged 70 cases, and those already arrested may face more serious crimes.
The FBI is tracking money, travel records, movements of people and communications in addition to following tips from the public and footage and photos from the scene on January 6.
Michael Sherwin, the top federal prosecutor in Washington, DC, said he expected hundreds of people could be charged in the aftermath of the attack, and investigations may take months to understand it fully.
Sherwin said on Tuesday the Justice Department has put an emphasis on looking into rioters who engaged in ‘open-handed combat’ with police officers during the breach.
A clearer picture of what happened inside the Capitol, Sherwin said, is ‘going to come into laser focus I think over the next weeks and days, and I think people are going to be shocked with some of the egregious contact that happened within the Capitol.’
On Sunday he said they were looking into the organizations involved.
‘I would not be surprised if we find loose affiliations of groups that were organized and had plans in place,’ Sherwin said.
‘We saw in some of these individuals we identified – they look paramilitary almost, right? You’ve got the uniform, you’ve got communication, you have all the paraphernalia.
‘Those show indications of affiliation and a command-and-control. So I believe we are going to find those hallmarks.’