Former GOP gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley sentenced to prison on Jan. 6 charges

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WASHINGTON — A former Republican candidate for Michigan governor was sentenced Tuesday to 60 days in prison for committing a federal crime during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Ryan Kelley, who was arrested during the Michigan gubernatorial primary in 2022, pleaded guilty this July to a misdemeanor count of entering and remaining on restricted grounds, admitting he “rushed past U.S. Capitol police officers” and “used his hands to support another rioter who was pulling a metal bike rack onto the scaffolding.” Prosecutors also said he ripped a tarp on the inauguration stage.

jan 6 rioter (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia)

Kelley was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Christopher R. Cooper, who said he had “some serious concerns” that Kelley was “truly remorseful,” citing fundraising appeals Kelley made two years after the riot suggesting Jan. 6 was a so-called false flag event.



“I think you misused the platform that you had as a candidate for elected office to minimize, and frankly, to lie about what happened,” Cooper said, referring to fundraising appeals Kelley made years after the riot where he referred to the 2020 election as stolen and called the Jan. 6 riot an “FBI set-up.”

In seeking a three-month sentence, prosecutors said Kelley “encouraged, facilitated, and celebrated violence at the Capitol.”

“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,” prosecutors wrote.

“I apologize for those things,” Kelley said during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.

His lawyer said Kelley was done with politics.

Kelley said that former President Donald Trump was not to blame for what he did, but said he came to Washington in the first place because Trump had promised to show “receipts” proving the election had been stolen, he told the judge.

“I was misled into believing those things,” Kelley said. “To this day, those receipts never showed up.”

“It’s not his fault, the former president, for my actions that day,” Kelley added. “He did invite us there, but my actions are my actions and I own those.”

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