A former Michigan gubernatorial candidate has been sentenced to two months in prison for his role in the Capitol riot


WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced a former Republican gubernatorial candidate in Michigan to two months in prison for joining the Jan. 6, 2021, mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, where he provoked other rioters and tore down a tarp outside the building.

Ryan Kellywho finished fourth in the primaries of five Republican candidates for governor last year, He pleaded guilty in July He was charged with a misdemeanor for his role in the siege.

Several months before his guilty plea, Kelly posted on social media that the Capitol riot was orchestrated by the FBI. His campaign later posted the phrase “political prisoner” on Facebook He was arrested in June 2022.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper told Kelly that he abused his platform as a candidate for public office by promoting lies about election fraud, including the baseless claim that Jan. 6 was somehow part of a conspiracy orchestrated by the FBI.

“A lot of people voted for you. A lot of people followed you,” Cooper said before sentencing Kelly to 60 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Kelly, 42, traveled from Allendale, Michigan, to Washington, D.C., to meet with then-President. Donald Trump A “Stop the Steal” rally near the White House on January 6. Kelly told the judge he wanted to see “receipts” that support Trump’s claims that Democrats stole the 2020 presidential election from him, the incumbent Republican president.

“Those receipts never arrived,” he said. “This is treason, and I have been misled into believing these things.”

But he said he does not blame Trump for his behavior on January 6.

“He invited us there, but my actions were my actions,” Kelly said.

Kelly, a real estate broker, is not accused of involvement in the January 6 violence. But federal prosecutors said he helped breach scaffolding, incited the mob with his shouting and signaled other rioters to approach the Capitol and police. Officers guard the building.

Kelly pleaded guilty to entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, a charge punishable by a maximum of one year in prison.

Prosecutors recommended Kelly be sentenced to three months in prison.

“Not only did Kelly make a bad decision, he made a series of bad decisions that day,” said prosecutor Shanae Watson.

Kelly’s arrest disturbed what was already there Republican primaries are complicated For the governor’s race. Conservative commentator Theodore Dixon She won the Republican primary, but ultimately lost to incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, last November.

Kelly spoke at a “Stop the Steal” rally at the state Capitol in Lansing in November 2020, shortly after the presidential election. The FBI said Kelly urged others at the rally to “stand up and fight with the goal of preventing Democrats from stealing the election.”

After attending Trump’s rally on January 6, he walked to the Capitol and joined a crowd that formed in West Plaza, where grenades exploded near him.

Kelly and other rioters climbed across scaffolding covered with a white tarp. Surveillance video showed him tearing up the tarp.

“Although the tear in the tarp was relatively modest, it widened an already existing hole in the tarp and widened the opening through which some rioters advanced into the Capitol.” The plaintiffs wrote in a lawsuit.

Kelly remained at the Capitol for about two hours, but was not charged with entering the building that day.

“Mr. Kelly understands and appreciates that he should never have participated in the protests that turned into riots that day, and that such violence has no place in our democracy.” His defense attorney wrote.

In last year’s debate, Kelly said the riot was “First Amendment activity by a majority of these people, myself included.”

“We were there to protest the government because we don’t like the results of the 2020 election, and how it happened. And we have that First Amendment right. And that’s what 99% of the people there were that day.”

In a lawsuit after the primary loss, Kelly’s lawyers said he “remains actively involved in political issues throughout the state of Michigan, and is considering whether to run for a different state or federal office.”

Defense attorney Gary Springsted said Tuesday that Kelly “doesn’t want to have anything to do with politics at this point.” Kelly told the judge he wanted to focus on his work and family.

More than 1,100 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot. More than 800 of them pleaded guilty or were convicted by a jury or judge after contested trials. Nearly 700 of them were sentenced, with nearly two-thirds of them receiving prison terms ranging from three to three days. 22 years.

Also on Tuesday, a woman who smashed a window at the Capitol and used a megaphone to direct other rioters on Jan. 6 was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison. U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth also ordered Rachel Mary Powell ordered to pay compensation and a fine totaling approximately $8,000.

In July, Lamberth heard testimony without a jury in front of him Powell was convicted on all nine counts in the indictment. The prosecutor said Powell, 41, of Sandy Lake, Pennsylvania, played a “leadership role” during the riot.

This article originally appeared on apnews.com

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