Michigan Republican governor candidate Ryan Kelley arrested for Capitol riot role

WASHINGTON, June 9 (Reuters) - The FBI arrested Republican Ryan Kelley, a candidate for Michigan governor, on Thursday for misdemeanor charges in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.

An FBI agent's sworn statement said Kelley, 40, was captured on video standing in a crowd of people who were "assaulting and pushing past law enforcement officers" at the Capitol.

Kelley is one of five people seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer in a November election. He serves as an appointed planning commissioner in Allendale, Michigan.

In a recent opinion poll cited by local media in Michigan, Kelley emerged as the leading Republican candidate, though the race remains fluid with 49 percent of Republican voters still undecided.

His campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The primary vote to select a Republican nominee is scheduled for Aug. 2.

A criminal complaint charges Kelley with knowingly entering restricted grounds without lawful authority, disorderly conduct, knowingly engaging in acts of physical violence against property on restricted grounds and willfully injuring U.S. property.

The arrest coincided with Thursday's first of a series of televised hearings of the Democratic-led House of Representatives Select Committee investigating the attack on the Capitol.

Other images show Kelley climbing an architectural feature near the northwest stairs of the building, the FBI statement said. He then can be seen in video footage waving his hand to encourage the crowd to move toward the stairs.

Kelley's presence at the Capitol that day was reported by a caller to an FBI tip line and by a confidential source who has worked with the bureau since 2020 to provide information about domestic terrorism groups in Michigan, the FBI statement said.

The FBI statement said investigators found photos of Kelley at other events wearing similar attire, including the American Patriot Council "Judgment Day" rally in May 2020.

In November 2020, he was a featured speaker at a "Stop the Steal" rally where he told the crowd: "We're going to stand and fight for America, for Donald Trump. We're not going to let the Democrats steal this election," the FBI statement said.

He is one of more than 840 people charged so far in connection with the attack.

According to a tally by the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, at least 18 Republican state legislators who attended the Jan. 6, 2021, rally currently hold office.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Additional reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Alistair Bell and Howard Goller

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Sarah N. Lynch is the lead reporter for Reuters covering the U.S. Justice Department out of Washington, D.C. During her time on the beat, she has covered everything from the Mueller report and the use of federal agents to quell protesters in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, to the rampant spread of COVID-19 in prisons and the department's prosecutions following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.