It all starts with a video posted by the conservative Townhall website. The footage shows a man, clad in a US Olympic team jacket, in the midst of a riot inside the Capitol Rotunda as police attempt to evacuate pro-Trump supporters from The area. The scene dates back to last Wednesday, when hundreds of attackers stormed the parliamentary heartland of the American capital.
Some people believe they recognize (at around 14 seconds in the video below) the former swimmer Klete Keller, former member of the American swimming team, and strong a prize list which made him a well-known figure among Americans: two Olympic relay titles (4x200m) at the Athens and Beijing Games, a silver charm for the same event in Sydney, as well as two individual bronze medals in the 400 freestyle meters from the 2000 and 2004 Games.
Trump supporters fought back after Capitol Police moved in to retake the Rotunda. pic.twitter.com/4e7mNyqWZy
– Julio Rosas (@ Julio_Rosas11) January 6, 2021
Swimswam, a swimming information site, first reports the possible presence of the swimmer among the crowd. Then it was the turn of Swimming World magazine to share a similar observation. USA Swimming, the American Swimming Federation, said at the same time that it was not sure whether it was really Keller. “We respect the rights of individuals and groups to demonstrate peacefully but we do not tolerate in any way the actions taken by those on Capitol Hill last week”, evacuated Monday Isabelle McLemore, responsible for com of the Federation, in an email.
After consultation with several former teammates and coaches (on condition of anonymity) by the New York Times and SwimSwam, the ex-teammate of Michael Phelps is however formally identified among the mass of protesters who entered the building, interrupting the session which was to confirm the victory of Joe Biden in the presidential election.
Under the threat of several federal charges
Now 38 years old, the former star of the pools had recently converted as a real estate agent in Colorado Springs, the city where the American Olympic Committee is located, according to the New York Times. Hoff & Leigh, the company Keller works at, did not confirm his presence in Washington last Wednesday, but removed his bio from the website Tuesday morning, while saying: “Hoff & Leigh supports the right to free speech and legal protest, but we cannot tolerate actions that violate the rule of law.”
No video has so far shown Keller acting in a violent manner. The mere fact of being in this place, however, exposes him to federal charges for “breaking and entering” and “disturbing the peace”.
Since the violence at the Capitol, which left five people dead, including a police officer, the federal police have been trying to find all those who entered this place. Seventy people have already been indicted, 170 suspects identified and the judicial authorities anticipate “hundreds” of indictments over the coming months, estimated Tuesday a senior official of the Department of Justice in Washington.
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