The agreement with Keller suggests that prosecutors may attempt to utilise him as a star witness in subsequent trials, relying on his fame as a distinguished swimmer who won gold medals in swimming at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Keller was arrested and charged with seven felonies in January. As part of the plea agreement, the remaining charges will be withdrawn. He pleaded guilty to a criminal offence that might result in prison, though he could lower his sentence by cooperating with prosecutors.
Until now, the only rioters who had reached an agreement with the authorities were members of extreme groups who could testify against their fellow members.
Keller, 38, was identified by investigators after he was seen in CCTV footage inside the Capitol wearing his US Olympic Team jacket. Prosecutors claimed at the Wednesday hearing that Keller, who is 6-foot-6, towered over the other rioters in the tape, making it easy for investigators to trace his movements throughout the hour he spent inside the Capitol.
Prosecutors stated during the hearing that at one time, Keller clashed with police, yelled about Democratic lawmakers, and shook off cops who tried to usher him out of the building.
Prosecutors said Keller destroyed the phone and memory card he took to Washington over the course of a few days. He also discarded his US Olympic Team jacket.
Keller’s lawyer, Edward MacMahon, told the judge, “He’s definitely attempting to make up for the bad judgement he made on January 6.” “He is ashamed of what he did that day and wishes to make atonement to the court and the American people.”
Keller and the Justice Department agreed to postpone his punishment until he had finished assisting investigators.
Keller has five Olympic medals to her name, including two relay golds. He is best remembered for anchoring the victorious US team, which included Michael Phelps, in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, where he defeated Australian gold champion Ian Thorpe.
“We believe that the right to peacefully protest and express values and viewpoints in a courteous and lawful manner is essential to the strength of our democracy. Unfortunately, it was not the case in this instance “According to the organisation.
At least 615 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol disturbance, according to prosecutors. So far, ninety individuals have pled guilty, with the majority confessing to misdemeanour offences.