In a significant development regarding the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, an Iowa man, Leo Christopher Kelly, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison, along with 36 months of supervised release and a fine of $7,000. Kelly was found guilty of obstructing an official proceeding, a felony offense, as well as six misdemeanor charges related to his actions during the attack on the Capitol. Court documents reveal that Kelly was one of the few rioters who breached the Senate Chamber, where he ascended the Senate Dais, rifled through sensitive documents, and took photos. This sentencing highlights the ongoing efforts to hold individuals accountable for their participation in the events of Jan. 6, as more than 1,106 people have been arrested across the country for their involvement in the Capitol breach.
On January 6, 2021, the U.S. Capitol was breached by a group of individuals, disrupting a joint session of the U.S. Congress. This session was convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election. One individual involved in the breach was Leo Christopher Kelly, a 37-year-old man from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Kelly was recently sentenced for his actions during the Capitol breach, which included accessing the Senate Chamber, ascending the Senate Dais, and rifling through sensitive documents.
Summary of the Case
Sentencing of Leo Christopher Kelly
Leo Christopher Kelly was sentenced on August 18, 2023, in the District of Columbia for his involvement in the January 6 Capitol breach. The sentencing was presided over by U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth.
Charges and Convictions
Kelly was found guilty following a trial by jury on May 9, 2023. He was convicted on one felony offense and six misdemeanor offenses. The felony offense was obstruction of an official proceeding, while the misdemeanor charges included entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, entering and remaining on the floor of the Congress, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
Actions During the Capitol Breach
According to court documents and evidence presented during the trial, Kelly played a significant role in breaching the Senate Chamber during the Capitol breach. Once inside, he ascended the Senate Dais, leafed through sensitive documents, and took photos of them. These actions were disruptive and contributed to the chaos and damage caused during the breach.
Details of the Sentencing
Leo Christopher Kelly was sentenced to 30 months in prison. This sentence reflects the seriousness of his offenses and sends a clear message that such actions will be met with severe consequences.
In addition to the prison sentence, Kelly was ordered to serve 36 months of supervised release. This means that once he is released from prison, he will have a set period of time during which he will be closely monitored and required to comply with certain conditions to ensure his compliance with the law.
Restitution and Fines
As part of his sentencing, Kelly was also ordered to pay $7,000 in restitution and fines. This financial penalty serves both as a form of punishment and as a way to compensate for the damages caused by his actions.
Actions During the Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
During the Capitol breach on January 6, 2021, Leo Christopher Kelly engaged in a series of actions that escalated the situation and contributed to the disruption and destruction that occurred.
Breaching the Senate Chamber
Kelly was one of the few individuals who managed to breach the Senate Chamber during the Capitol breach. This act involved forcibly entering a restricted area and bypassing security measures that were in place to protect the integrity of the chamber.
Accessing the Senate Dais
Once inside the Senate Chamber, Kelly ascended the Senate Dais, which is a platform reserved for senators during official proceedings. This act further demonstrated his disregard for the rule of law and the sanctity of the chamber.
Leafing Through Sensitive Documents
While on the Senate Dais, Kelly proceeded to leaf through sensitive documents that were meant for the eyes of elected officials only. This unauthorized access to confidential information is a serious breach of security and a violation of the trust placed in those who are granted access to such materials.
Timeline of Events
To understand the full extent of Leo Christopher Kelly’s involvement in the Capitol breach, it is important to examine the timeline of events leading up to and during the breach.
Travel to Washington, D.C.
On January 5, 2021, Kelly drove from his home in Iowa to Washington, D.C., indicating a premeditated intent to participate in the events that were set to unfold the next day.
Participation in the Ellipse Rally
On January 6, Kelly joined a large group of people, including his parents, for a rally at the Ellipse. This rally served as a gathering point for individuals who were planning to march towards the Capitol building.
Marching towards the Capitol Building
After the rally, Kelly and his parents joined the march towards the Capitol building. This collective movement towards the Capitol demonstrated a unified intent to breach the security measures in place and gain access to the building.
Entering the West Terrace Courtyard
Kelly eventually made his way past the barriers to the West Terrace Courtyard, which had been breached by other rioters. The breach allowed a flood of individuals, including Kelly, to enter the Capitol building.
Entering the Capitol Building through the Parliamentarian’s Door
At approximately 2:43 p.m., Kelly entered the Capitol building through the Parliamentarian’s Door. This unauthorized entry marked the beginning of his direct involvement in the events that unfolded inside the building.
Events Inside the Capitol Building
Once inside the Capitol building, Leo Christopher Kelly engaged in a series of actions that further escalated the chaos and destruction.
Witnessing Office Door Bashing
Upon entering the Capitol, Kelly witnessed another rioter using a metal stand to bash in an office door. This act of vandalism and destruction set the tone for the events that would follow.
Entering the Ransacked Office
Kelly entered the ransacked office shortly after witnessing the destruction of the door. He took video footage of the scene, capturing the aftermath of the chaos that had ensued.
Confronting Police Officers
After leaving the office, Kelly confronted a line of police officers who were attempting to maintain order and protect the integrity of the Capitol building. Despite the officers’ orders to leave, Kelly and other rioters charged forward, disregarding the authority of law enforcement.
Creating a Gap in the Police Line
Kelly played a direct role in creating a gap in the police line, allowing other rioters to “pour through” and gain access to the staircase that led directly to the Senate Chamber. This act of aggression and disregard for law enforcement contributed to the further breach of the Capitol building.
Ascending the Stairs to the Senate Floor
Taking advantage of the chaos and the breach of security, Kelly ascended the stairs to the second floor and ultimately made his way onto the Senate floor. Here, he joined other rioters in yelling, screaming, and ransacking the Senators’ desks.
Actions in the Senate Chamber
Once inside the Senate Chamber, Leo Christopher Kelly engaged in activities that further violated the integrity of the space and the security of the elected officials.
Ransacking Senators’ Desks
Kelly rifled through the desks of Senators, taking part in the destruction and violation of their personal spaces. This act showed a blatant disregard for the democratic process and the respect owed to those who hold public office.
Rifling Through Sensitive Documents
In addition to ransacking the desks, Kelly specifically targeted sensitive documents, taking photos and video footage of them. This act of unauthorized access to confidential information represents a breach of security and a violation of the trust placed in individuals who have access to such materials.
Sending Photos and Footage to Others
Kelly sent the photos he took in the Senate Chamber to several individuals, including a reporter. He also sent video footage of the siege to his friends. These actions demonstrate a lack of remorse and an intent to further spread the disruption and chaos caused by the breach.
Arrest and Indictment
After his involvement in the Capitol breach, Leo Christopher Kelly was arrested on January 18, 2021, by FBI agents in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Following his arrest, a federal grand jury returned an indictment on December 3, 2021, charging Kelly with seven counts related to his actions during the breach.
Prosecution and Investigation
The prosecution of Leo Christopher Kelly’s case was carried out by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, with assistance from the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa. The investigation into his actions was led by the FBI’s Omaha and Washington Field Offices, with valuable assistance provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and U.S. Capitol Police.
Scope of the Investigation
The investigation into the January 6 Capitol breach has been extensive, leading to a significant number of arrests across the country.
Number of Arrests Related to the Capitol Breach
In the 31 months since the breach occurred, over 1,106 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol. This demonstrates the widespread impact and consequences of the events that unfolded on that day.
Charges of Assaulting or Impeding Law Enforcement
Of the individuals arrested, more than 350 have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. This highlights the direct confrontations and acts of aggression that took place during the breach.
Reporting Tips to the FBI
As the investigation continues, the FBI continues to encourage individuals with information related to the Capitol breach to come forward. Tips can be reported by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or visiting tips.fbi.gov. This collaborative effort between law enforcement and the public is critical to holding those responsible accountable for their actions.
In conclusion, the sentencing of Leo Christopher Kelly reflects the severity of his actions during the January 6 Capitol breach. His involvement in breaching the Senate Chamber, accessing the Senate Dais, and rifling through sensitive documents highlights the disruptive and destructive nature of the breach. As the investigation and prosecution of individuals involved in the Capitol breach continue, it serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding the rule of law and holding accountable those who seek to undermine our democratic processes.