Klete Keller, a swimmer who won gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics and 2008 Beijing Olympics, was charged Wednesday with three federal crimes (13), including obstruction by authorities and disorderly conduct, at following its invasion of the United States Congress headquarters during last week’s violent protests in Washington.
Keller, 38, was identified after appearing in a video uploaded by a reporter to the Conservative Townhall website, according to a statement by an FBI agent, included in the indictment.
Keller did little to hide his identity, entering the Capitol roundabout wearing a US Olympic team jacket and with his mask down. He is 1.98m tall and the officer’s statement emphasizes that he is “one of the tallest individuals to appear in the video”.
Several of his former teammates said they recognized Keller in the video because of his height and because he was wearing an American Olympic team jacket, with “USA” engraved on the back and sleeves.
Prosecution documents do not detail Keller’s actions at congressional headquarters except that police attempted to expel him from the area, along with the other invaders.
He was charged with obstructing authorities, deliberately entering and remaining in a building or restricted area without legal authorization, and violently entering and driving disorderly in the Capitol area.
A swimming news site, SwimSwam, was the first to identify Keller’s presence in the riots on Monday. The New York Times confirmed his presence in interviews with former colleagues and coaches on Tuesday.
Attempts to contact Keller were unsuccessful. But on Tuesday night, the Colorado furniture company that has employed him for three years, Hoff & Leigh, also appears to have confirmed its involvement in last week’s violent invasion by announcing that Keller had resigned “with immediate effect.”
“Hoff & Leigh supports free speech and legal protest, but we cannot accept actions that violate the law,” the company said in a brief statement.
Few of the people who recognized Keller in the video have expressed surprise at his presence in Washington. The social media accounts he recently closed, several of those people said, included several pro-Trump posts.
Keller competed on three US Olympic teams and won medals in three Olympics, including gold medals in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008, as a member of relay teams that included Michael Phelps.
Keller also won a silver medal in a relay event at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and two individual bronze medals.
Translation by Paulo Migliacci