WASHINGTON — Three-time Olympic swimmer Klete Keller pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a felony charge related to his actions on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol.
Keller, 39, who won two gold medals and a silver while competing in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics, pleaded guilty to one felony count of obstructing an official proceeding before Congress, according to The New York Times.
Keller was originally indicted on seven charges, but as part of a bargain with prosecutors he pleaded guilty in United States District Court in Washington to the one count, the newspaper reported.
As part of the agreement, Keller promised to help law enforcement with any continuing investigation into the attack on the Capitol, The Washington Post reported.
Keller is facing a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, though sentencing guidelines call for 21 to 27 months, the newspaper reported.
His attorney, Edward MacMahon Jr., told the judge that Keller “is trying to make amends for his terrible mistake,” is embarrassed, and “wants to start his life over,” NBC News reported.
More than 600 people have been arrested in the wake of the Jan. 6 events at the Capitol, but Keller stood out because of his 6-foot-6 frame and the Olympic team jacket he was wearing with “USA” printed on the back, the Times reported.
According to his plea, Keller spent about an hour in the Capitol building on Jan. 6. He yelled expletives about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, according to the newspaper. Keller also allegedly took photographs and a video, and “jerked his elbow” to avoid law enforcement officers who were trying to remove him from the building.
Keller later threw away the jacket and destroyed the phone and its memory card, the Times reported.
Keller was not seen in any violent actions at the Capitol on Jan. 6. He was charged in U.S. District Court in Denver on Jan. 13, according to the Post, and turned himself in the next day.
On Feb. 10, he was indicted by a grand jury on seven counts, the newspaper reported.
Keller was a freestyle swimmer who won five medals overall, including two golds in relay races, the newspaper reported. He anchored Team USA’s gold-medal-winning 4x200-meter freestyle relay in Athens -- a foursome that included Michael Phelps in the leadoff leg -- by out-touching Australian legend Ian Thorpe in the adjacent lane, according to the Post.
MacMahon did not immediately respond to a telephone message left on Wednesday, according to the Times.
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