'Embarrassed' Olympic gold medal swimmer Klete Keller avoids prison in January 6 Capitol riot sentencing

  • Olympic swimmer Klete Keller avoided prison for his role in the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.

  • The gold medal winner stormed the Capitol and shouted profanities about Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

  • Prosecutors asked for a prison term, but he was sentenced to probation and home detention instead.

Klete Keller, an Olympic swimmer and gold medallist, was spared jail during his sentencing for his involvement in the 2021 Capitol attack.

Keller, 41, was among the Donald Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

He was sentenced to three years of probation and six months of home detention after pleading guilty to one charge of obstructing an official proceeding before Congress, per the BBC.

He was also ordered to perform 360 hours of community service.

The insurrection took place as lawmakers met to ratify Joe Biden's election victory.

Court sketch of Keller virtual hearing at DC court.
Court sketch of Keller virtual hearing at DC court.REUTERS

The former athlete pleaded guilty to the felony charge in 2021.

Keller, who retired from swimming in 2008, won five Olympic medals. These include gold medals from the 2004 and 2008 Games.

Video footage taken during the attack shows Keller inside the Capitol shouting obscenities about Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

Prosecutors had sought a sentence of 10 months in federal prison for Keller, calling his actions "unconscionable," per NBC News, but the Olympian was ultimately spared jail time.

"Klete Derik Keller once wore the American flag as an Olympian," prosecutors wrote in a pre-sentencing memo. "On January 6, 2021, he threw that flag in a trash can."

"I understand my actions were criminal and that I am fully responsible for my conduct," he told US District Judge Richard Leon.

In a letter to the judge, Keller said: "I stand before you feeling ashamed and profoundly embarrassed." He continued he understood that he had "set a terrible example for young people who looked up to me." The swimmer added that January 6 was a "terrible day," per ABC News.

The Capitol attack has led to approximately 1,200 people being charged over their involvement. About 900 have pleaded guilty or been convicted, per the BBC.

Sentences have ranged from home detention and probation to 22 years in prison.

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