WASHINGTON — A former Republican gubernatorial candidate in Michigan should spend three months in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, federal prosectors argued in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday night.
Ryan Kelley, 42, was arrested in June 2022, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count in July, admitting that he “rushed past U.S. Capitol police officers and started climbing the northwest scaffolding” and encouraged other members of the mob to rush toward the building.
Prosecutors said Kelley also helped ripped a protective tarp covering the stage where Joe Biden was ultimately inaugurated as president two weeks later, on Jan. 20, 2021.
Kelley is set to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper on Oct. 17.
Kelley, federal prosecutors wrote, “did not directly engage in violence,” but he “encouraged, facilitated, and celebrated violence at the Capitol” on Jan. 6.
“He shouted into the already riled up crowd; he consistently beckoned the crowd of rioters forward, closer towards the Capitol Building and police; he supported another rioter as he was moving a metal bike rack towards the front of the mob on the Northwest stairs, towards those rioters who were closer to officers; and he took a photograph of human blood by the stairs,” they wrote.
The real estate broker, federal prosecutors said, “has displayed a troubling lack of remorse for his actions indicating that has not yet learned a lesson or grasped the gravity of the events he participated in.” They also sought a year of supervised release and 60 hours of community service.
Kelley was arrested before the GOP gubernatorial primary in Michigan; for a time, he had been leading in the polls. He ultimately lost the GOP primary to Tudor Dixon, who was defeated by Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in the 2022 general election.
Kelley’s defense attorney Gary Springstead wrote that Kelley “sincerely believed” the 2020 presidential election was stolen “based on the representations” of former President Donald Trump, and that Kelley now “understands and appreciates that he never should have participated in the protests that turned into a riot that day and that such violence has no place in our democracy.”
The FBI has arrested more than 1,100 people in connection with the Capitol attack. About 660 defendants have been sentenced in the 33 months since the Capitol attack, including about 400 who have been sentenced to periods of incarceration.