Friday, May 20, 2022

Klete Keller, Olympian and CNN commentator, pleads guilty to disorderly conduct

Klete Keller, the three-time Olympic swimmer, pleaded guilty in District Court on Wednesday to disorderly conduct in connection with a misdemeanor riot case in the U.S. Capitol last June.

The 24-year-old swimmer, who is a CNN commentator, was one of more than a dozen people who were arrested in the June 14th incident, which began with a brawl on the U.S. Capitol grounds, was largely outside the Senate’s caucus room, and ended with eight people being taken into custody.

Keller, who also served as an Olympic beach volleyball coach for the American program from 2008 to 2012, was one of the first of those arrested to offer a statement to law enforcement. In the letter — which was not clear where he was born or what country he came from — Keller described the fight as having been an emotional response to the event earlier that day.

He went on to note that police had “lifted” his Nike jersey in an attempt to make him “look” like he had been the instigator and “pranked” him, all of which also prompted him to lash out in the scuffle.

“Having not been charged with anything beyond committing disorderly conduct at the Capitol, I was caught up in the Capitol Police’s attempt to maintain control of the crowd that day,” he wrote in his statement. “It seemed they had no idea what to do. They clearly had a crowd down to their size and didn’t know how to control it.”

When the police came to arrest him, Keller explained, he immediately started running. “I had no intention of being arrested. None,” he wrote in his statement. “It didn’t occur to me that I was committing a crime. … It didn’t even occur to me that I might be hurt.”

During the hearing, Keller asked to change his guilty plea to no contest and said that he wanted to apologize for what he called a lapse in judgment.

Keller is scheduled to be sentenced in October, but is free on $1,000 bond pending his court appearance. Under terms of his plea agreement, he must have no contact with the Capitol police department or Capitol building and may not board a public transportation without either the attendance of a parent or guardian or writing an agreement that he will not be aggressive. Keller also must participate in a five-day leadership course on anger management.

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