FBI arrests Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley over Capitol riots

LANSING — The FBI arrested Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley on Thursday and raided his home, a stunning development in one of the state’s most unpredictable primary races.

A criminal complaint filed in federal court in Washington DC shows Kelley faces multiple charges for his role in protests at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, when supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the building in an attempt to stop President Joe Biden’s certification. to win.

The FBI executed both a search warrant and an arrest warrant at Kelley’s home in Allendale Township, western Michigan, and arrested Kelley, spokeswoman Mara Schneider told Bridge Michigan.

Video reviewed by Bridge Michigan appeared to show FBI agents driving Kelley in a gray SUV with them shortly before 9:30 a.m.

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Chris Kelley, a parent and Kelley campaign treasurer, said he was “aware” of Thursday morning’s law enforcement raid but declined to comment further.

Kelley denied entering the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, but court records show he was charged with several crimes related to the riots:

  • Knowingly entering or remaining in a building or restricted area without legal authority
  • Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a building or restricted area
  • Knowingly engaging in any act of physical violence against any person or property in any building or restricted area
  • Willfully injure or commit depredation against any United States property

A real estate agent, Kelley rose to prominence in conservative circles in 2020 for protesting the removal of a Confederate statue in his hometown and organizing a protest at the Michigan Capitol against COVID-19 policies.

Video from outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 showed Kelley climbing scaffolding and cheering on other protesters.

Footage from Jan. 6, 2021, reviewed by Bridge, showed Kelley — wearing clothes identical to those he wore at Michigan events — in the throng of large crowds that headed for the Capitol that afternoon , despite flash grenades, tear gas and the arrival of riot police.

Other footage appeared to show him waving protesters toward the Capitol and filming others as they clashed with police. Kelley told MLive in March 2021 that “once things started to get crazy, I left,” but footage months later that Michigan Democrats claimed shows Kelley shouting “this is war, baby” as protesters stormed the Capitol.

In 2020, Kelley said he asked the U.S. Justice Department to arrest Whitmer and other Democratic officials for enacting a stay-at-home order and other COVID-19 response regulations.

Thursday’s raid comes hours before a US House committee investigating the 2021 attacks on the Capitol is expected to present its findings in a prime-time hearing.

Kelley is one of five Republican gubernatorial candidates remaining after five others were disqualified from the Aug. 2 ballot for submitting fraudulent signatures in their nomination petitions.

One of the remaining candidates, businessman Kevin Rinke, wrote on Twitter that he respects Kelley.

“I hope the FBI acts appropriately, as the timing here raises serious questions. I pray for him and his family,” he added. Rinke wrote on Twitter.

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