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Former Olympic swimmer pleads guilty to Capitol riot charges

Former U.S. Olympic gold medalist swimmer Klete Keller pleaded guilty to a single charge of obstructing an official proceeding in connection to his presence at the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol on Wednesday. File Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg
Former U.S. Olympic gold medalist swimmer Klete Keller pleaded guilty to a single charge of obstructing an official proceeding in connection to his presence at the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol on Wednesday. File Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo

Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Olympic gold medal swimmer Klete Keller pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges related to his presence at the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.

Keller, 39, pleaded guilty to a single charge of obstructing an official proceeding, in exchange for government prosecutors agreeing to drop one other felony charge and five misdemeanor counts.

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The obstructing charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years in prison, however, sentencing guidelines call for 21 months to 27 months.

Keller's attorney, Edward McMahon, told U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon that Keller is embarrassed and "is trying to make amends for his terrible mistake," as he "wants to start his life over."

No sentencing hearing was set; assistant U.S. Attorney Troy A. Edwards Jr. asked the judge to provide Keller ample time as he agreed to cooperate in their investigations in ongoing Capitol riot cases and he could be called upon to provide testimony in related court proceedings.

Leon noted that Keller's sentence could be lowered or increased based on the extent of his cooperation.

"You're facing the possibility of incarceration. It would behoove you to be cautious in how you conduct yourself," Leon said. "The last thing you need is to be back here for [a hearing of violation]. This court takes a dim view of violations made while under its supervision."

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According to court documents, an FBI agent was able to identify the 6-foot-6-inch Keller from videos during the riots in part because of his height and also because of the Team USA jacket he wore while at the Capitol.

Edwards detailed evidence that Keller spent nearly an hour inside the capitol shouting obscenities related to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Edwards added that Keller at one point yanked his elbow away from a police officer who attempted to remove him and others from the building.

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