WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ryan Kelley, a former Republican gubernatorial candidate, pleaded guilty Thursday morning to a misdemeanor charge stemming from the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Court documents show Kelley pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, which could result in a sentence of up to 6 months in prison.
As part of the plea deal, his attorney Gary Springstead says charges of disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, knowingly engaging in any act of physical violence against a person or property in any restricted building or grounds, and willful destruction of property will be dismissed.
Kelley was arrested by the FBI at his home in Allendale in June of 2022.
Official documents state the FBI started receiving tips that Kelley was at the U.S. Capitol on January 16, 2021.
“At approximately 1:30 p.m. on January 6, 2021, a video of the event that was posted online displays an individual wearing the aviator sunglasses and backward black baseball cap at about the 7-minute, 9-second mark. This indicates that KELLEY gathered near the entrance to the North Western scaffolding on the Western side of the U.S. Capitol. The individual with the sunglasses and baseball cap is pictured below,” documents state.
The FBI used photos and videos from the Jan. 6 insurrection to track Kelley’s actions that day. The FBI says Kelley used his phone to film the crowd assaulting and pushing past U.S. Capitol police officers.
"After causing the U.S. Capitol Police officers to retreat, the crowd climbed the stairs towards the entrance to the interior of the U.S. Capitol. At approximately 1:51 p.m., KELLEY moved towards the side of the nearby stairs and began to climb onto an architectural feature next to those stairs. In this publicly available news media image, KELLEY can be seen through the scaffolding on the stairs. Other members of the crowd are also identifiable," the documents read.
According to the documents, Kelley was then spotted climbing onto an architectural feature next to the North West stairs and indicating to the crowd behind him that he should move forward.
Springstead says Kelley thought he could legally demonstrate on the Capitol steps under his First Amendment rights and claims he did not know about a pandemic order that closed the Capitol grounds to the public or that the organizer hadn’t requested a permit for the demonstration.
Springstead says there is no evidence that Kelley entered the Capital building.
Springstead told FOX 17 he will advocate for probation for Kelley, calling the misdemeanor a “petty offense” though acknowledged the charge could result in a sentence of six months in prison.
Springstead says this is the most efficient and economical way to end the legal battle, adding that Kelly just wants to focus on his family and business.
Kelley is a real estate broker who gained prominence in Republican circles during the COVID-19 pandemic for organizing a protest at the Michigan Capitol over the lockdowns.
Kelley was a Republican candidate for Michigan governor in 2022 but lost in the primary election to Tudor Dixon.
Read the full plea agreement signed by Kelley in June.