The former Olympic gold medalist swimmer Klete Keller faces three federal charges, including obstructing law enforcement and disorderly conduct, as a result of his entry into the United States Capitol during last week’s violent protests in Washington.
Keller, 38, was identified after he appeared in a video posted online by a reporter from the conservative website Townhall, according to a statement of facts by an F.B.I. agent included in the charging documents on Wednesday.
Keller did little to hide his identity, entering the Capitol Rotunda wearing a Team U.S.A. jacket and with his face covering pulled down around his neck. He is also 6-foot-6, which the statement of facts said made him appear to be “one of the tallest individuals in the video.”
Keller first appears in the video at 14:37.
Several former teammates and coaches said they recognized Keller in the video because of his size and because of his Olympic team jacket, which had “USA” printed across the back and down the sleeves.
The F.B.I. special agent who wrote the charging documents said that additional publicly available videos and articles had confirmed Keller’s presence at the Capitol, and that the photograph from his Colorado driver’s license had been used to identify him.
He was one of the thousands of protesters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, seeking to delay — or perhaps prevent — the certification of President Trump’s loss to Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the November general election.
The charging documents, filed in United States District Court for the District of Columbia, do not expansively describe what Keller did in the Capitol beyond the fact that officers attempted to remove him and others around him from the Rotunda. He was charged with obstructing law enforcement, knowingly entering or remaining in restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
A swimming news site, SwimSwam, first reported Keller’s presence at the Capitol riot on Monday. Its report is cited in the documents charging Keller. The New York Times confirmed Keller’s presence at the Capitol in interviews with former teammates and coaches on Tuesday.
Efforts to reach Keller for comment were unsuccessful. On Tuesday night, the Colorado real estate firm that had employed him for the past three years, Hoff & Leigh, appeared to confirm his participation in last week’s assault on the Capitol when it announced that Keller had resigned “effective immediately.”
The riot inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, followed a rally at which President Trump made an inflammatory speech to his supporters, questioning the results of the election. Here’s a look at what happened and the ongoing fallout:
- As this video shows, poor planning and a restive crowd encouraged by President Trump set the stage for the riot.
- A two hour period was crucial to turning the rally into the riot.
- Several Trump administration officials, including cabinet members Betsy DeVos and Elaine Chao, announced that they were stepping down as a result of the riot.
- Federal prosecutors have charged more than 70 people, including some who appeared in viral photos and videos of the riot. Officials expect to eventually charge hundreds of others.
- The House has begun proceedings on an article of impeachment. It accuses the president of “inciting an insurrection” that led to the rampage by his supporters.
“Hoff & Leigh supports the right of free speech and lawful protest but we cannot condone actions that violate the rule of law,” the company said in a brief statement. Like Keller, it deleted its social media accounts as word spread of his involvement in the Capitol attack.
Few of the people who recognized Keller in the video expressed surprise at his presence in Washington. In recent years, several of them said, his now-deleted social media accounts had included a stream of pro-Trump messaging. In November, he posted photos of himself at an earlier election protest in Washington to his Facebook account.
Keller was a member of three U.S. Olympic teams, and he won medals at three Olympics, including golds at the Athens Games in 2004 and the Beijing Games in 2008 as a member of the 4×200-meter freestyle relay teams that included Michael Phelps. Keller also won a silver medal in the event at the 2000 Sydney Games, as well as two individual bronzes.