FBI arrests Republican running for Michigan governor over connection to Capitol riot

The FBI arrested Ryan Kelley, a Republican candidate for governor in Michigan, on misdemeanor charges connected to his participation in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol Riot. 

Kelley, 40, was arrested after law enforcement raided his Allendale Township home. He will appear in court later Thursday. 

While multiple videos show Kelley on the steps outside the building on January 6, 2021, Kelley has denied any involvement in the violence that ensued. Last summer, the Michigan Democratic Party promoted a video of Kelley at the time, saying, “Come on, let’s go! This is it! This is — this is war, baby!”

“As far as going through any barricades, or doing anything like that, I never took part in any forceful anything,” Kelley told MLive in March 2021, after launching his campaign. “Once things started getting crazy, I left.”

According to the statement of facts supporting the criminal complaint against Kelley, the FBI first began receiving tips about Kelley’s alleged involvement in the weeks after the violence of Jan. 6. The document states that an FBI agent interviewed Kelley in an attempt to confirm his identity.

Court documents included photos prosecutors said showed Kelley wearing a backward baseball cap among a crowd of people pushing past Capitol Police officers.

“At approximately 2:00 p.m., Kelley climbed onto and stood on an architectural feature next to the northwest stairs and indicated by waving his hand that the crowd behind him should move towards the stairs leading into the … Capitol building,” a statement said.

CCTV captured Kelley entering the Capitol building at about 2:30 p.m. and he was last seen inside at 3:26 p.m.

Kelley is one of several Republicans running to face off against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan’s governor race. His campaign manager, Karla Wagner, told WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids called his arrest an “intimidation tactic,” adding, “I think this is a very calculated movement on the part of the Democrats.”




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