Klete Keller pleads not guilty to charges related to U.S. Capitol riot

A closeup of Klete Keller in swim cap and goggles.
Former U.S. Olympic swimmer Klete Keller in 2007.
(Vladimir Rys / Bongarts / Getty Images)

Klete Keller, the Olympic gold medalist swimmer from USC charged with participating in the U.S. Capitol riot, pleaded not guilty during a remote hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington on Tuesday.

A grand jury indicted Keller on seven counts last month, including civil disorder, obstructing an official proceeding and disorderly conduct in a restricted building.

Keller appeared at the hearing via video from his home in Colorado Springs, Colo. He didn’t say much beyond “Good afternoon, doing well, thank you” after being introduced to the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Atty. Troy Edwards, before the brief proceeding.


Federal agents searched the home of Klete Keller, the Olympic medalist swimmer from USC charged in the Capitol riot, in Colorado Springs on Jan. 14.

Feb. 23, 2021

Edwards told Judge Richard J. Leon that Keller’s attorney, Edward B. MacMahon Jr., had been given “publicly available” evidence in the case and that the discovery material, which mainly consists of videos, would be turned over after a protective order was agreed on and approved.

Estimating the amount of discovery material is difficult, Edwards said, because the investigation is ongoing.

In response to a question from the judge, Edwards said he didn’t believe the government had the blue U.S. Olympic jacket that Keller was identified as wearing during the Jan. 6 riot. The distinctive jacket, with “USA” in large white letters, was key to Keller being publicly identified after a journalist captured him on video amid the chaos in the Capitol Rotunda.

“I would think that would be a fairly important piece of evidence,” Leon said.

MacMahon said he didn’t know if Keller kept the jacket but told the court that identifying his client wouldn’t be an issue because of his 6-foot-6 height and the jacket that made him stand out in videos of the riot.


Federal agents searched Keller’s home Jan. 14, the same day the FBI arrested him, but the search warrant and return remain sealed. The matter wasn’t discussed Tuesday.

Keller’s next hearing is scheduled for April 6.