Former Olympic swimmer and gold medalist Klete Keller has been noticed among the many rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, roughly 13 years after he final championed the nation on the world stage.
A number of former teammates and coaches have recognized Keller from video captured contained in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda through the assault, which performed out after U.S. President Donald Trump riled up a crowd of his supporters with false claims and conspiracy theories of election fraud.
Keller, who gained two gold medals for the U.S. on the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, gave the impression to be amongst those that rejected the fact of Trump’s loss final week.
At six ft, six inches tall, Keller will be seen towering over a melee between Capitol Police and Trump supporters contained in the Capitol’s Rotunda, in a video captured by the conservative Townhall Media web site. Keller was carrying a Staff USA jacket on the riot.
SwimSwam, a swimming-focused information web site, first reported Keller’s presence on the riot, citing “at the least a dozen individuals throughout the sport” who instantly acknowledged him. A number of sources have additionally recognized him to the Washington Put up and the New York Times.
The location additionally highlighted Keller’s jacket, which sported an Olympic patch and the letters “USA” throughout the again. The jacket seems to be from the 2018 Winter Video games, through which Keller didn’t compete.
“We weren’t conscious of this and can’t verify its accuracy,” a spokesperson for USA Swimming informed the Washington Put up.
“We respect non-public people’ and teams’ rights to peacefully protest however under no circumstances condone the actions taken by these on the Capitol final week.”
Hoff & Leigh, the Colorado-based actual property agency the place Keller has been working, eliminated his title from the web site on Monday. The corporate mentioned Keller had resigned on Tuesday.
“Hoff & Leigh assist the correct of free speech and lawful protest, however we can not condone actions that violate the rule of legislation,” the agency mentioned in a press release.
An archived model of Hoff & Leigh’s web site lists Keller as a dealer related to three years of expertise.
Keller, 38, has deleted his social media accounts and didn’t reply to requests for remark from the Occasions, the Put up and a number of other different information shops.
The Put up reviews that Keller had a protracted historical past of posting supportive messages about Trump.
Keller will be seen standing round within the movies posted by Townhall Media from the Rotunda. No footage has surfaced — as of this writing — of him taking part in violence.
Keller represented the USA on the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Summer season Video games.
He gained two gold medals as a part of relay groups with Michael Phelps, and in addition captured a silver and two bronze within the pool throughout his Olympic profession.
The FBI and the U.S. Justice Division have vowed to aggressively search out those that participated within the Capitol assault, which resulted in 5 deaths, together with one Capitol Police officer.
U.S. Legal professional Michael Sherwin introduced a raft of misdemeanour prices for dozens of rioters on Tuesday, and prompt that extra critical prices of sedition are nonetheless within the works.
“That is solely the start,” Sherwin mentioned. “We’re going to concentrate on essentially the most vital prices as a deterrent as a result of, regardless if it was only a trespass within the Capitol or if somebody planted a pipe bomb, you’ll be charged and you’ll be discovered.”
Web sleuths have been crowdsourcing identities and reporting them to the FBI for the reason that assault occurred.
The gathering introduced collectively a variety of far-right teams, together with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, the Proud Boys and believers in QAnon, the fantastical hoax that imagines Trump as a warrior for God towards a deep-state cabal of cannibalistic pedophiles.
Trump faces impeachment for his function in inciting the mob, after he informed the rioters to be “sturdy” and urged them to march on the Capitol instantly earlier than they did so on Jan. 6.
He additionally hailed the rioters as “very particular” and mentioned “we love you” in a message instantly after the violence.
The president mentioned his pre-riot speech was “completely acceptable” on Tuesday.
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