Ryan Kelley: FBI arrests Michigan gubernatorial candidate on 6 January charges

·3 min read
Ryan Kelley, Republication candidate for Governor, attends a rally in support of First Amendment rights
Ryan Kelley has confirmed he was in Washington on 6 January

The FBI has arrested a Republican candidate for governor of Michigan and raided his home in connection with the 6 January Capitol riots.

Ryan Kelley is facing four misdemeanour charges related to the Capitol breach, including disorderly conduct,

His campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr Kelley, 40, has confirmed he was in Washington DC on 6 January but denied engaging in illegal activity.

The real estate agent is one of five Republicans on the August primary ballot, competing to take on Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer in November's general election.

His arrest on Thursday morning comes just hours before a congressional committee investigating the Capitol riots holds the first of at least six public hearings.

According to an affidavit filed in federal court, the FBI received at least four tips between January and February 2021 from people who said Mr Kelley was at the Capitol attack. All four tipsters provided photos of a man who appeared to be Mr Kelley at the Capitol that day.

The FBI then used publicly available photos and video from the event "to assemble a more complete record" of Mr Kelley's actions, the affidavit said.

According to the investigation, a man the FBI identifies as Mr Kelley is seen at points throughout the day. He is shown filming a crowd of people who are assaulting and pushing past police officers, and climbing and standing on an "architectural feature" of the Capitol building and waving the crowd behind him forward.

Court documents also include reports of Mr Kelley's attendance at a November "Stop the Steal" protest - a rallying cry for those who support the false claim that former President Donald Trump was the rightful winner of the 2020 election, not Joe Biden.

Last year, Mr Kelley addressed claims that he entered the Capitol complex and engaged in misconduct on 6 January, calling it an "absolutely inaccurate and slanderous accusation made by fascist Democrats".

"Kelley has publicly confirmed his presence in Washington DC on January 6, and has made it very clear that he did not engage in any illegal activity, nor did he enter the Capitol building," the statement said.

He is now facing charges of knowingly entering and remaining on restricted property, disorderly conduct on restricted property, engaging in violence on restricted property and wilfully injuring property of the United States.

Mr Kelley is scheduled to make his initial court appearance on Thursday afternoon.

On Wednesday, a chiropractor who works just blocks away from the Capitol was arrested for his suspected role in the riot.

David Walls-Kaufman, who has lived and worked in Washington DC's Capitol Hill neighbourhood for three decades, was arrested by the FBI. He faces four misdemeanour charges for allegedly entering the breached government building.

He is already being sued in civil court by the wife of a Washington DC police officer who died by suicide nine days after being injured in the riot - allegedly by Mr Walls-Kaufman.