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

The former candidate for Michigan governor was arrested during the Republican primary last year.
jan 6 rioter
Ryan Kelley, a former Republican candidate for governor of Michigan. He is pictured left at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.WOOD via AP file/U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

WASHINGTON — A former Republican candidate for governor of Michigan 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 last year, pleaded guilty in 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
Ryan Kelley at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.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, in which he referred to the 2020 election as stolen and called the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, 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.

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

His lawyer said Kelley was done with politics.

Kelley said that former President Donald Trump was not to blame for what he did but that 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.”