FBI arrests Ryan Kelley, Michigan GOP governor candidate, over Capitol riots

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

A criminal complaint filed in Washington D.C. federal court shows Kelley is facing multiple charges for his role in protests at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the building to try to stop certification of President Joe Biden’s win.

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

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

Chris Kelley, a relative and campaign treasurer for the Kelley campaign, said he was “aware” of the Thursday morning law enforcement raid but declined further comment.

Kelley has denied entering the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but court records show he has been charged with multiple crimes related to the riots:

Knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority
Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds
Knowingly engaging in any act of physical violence against person or property in any restricted building or grounds
Willfully injuring or committing any depredation against any property of the United States
A real estate agent, Kelley rose to prominence in conservative circles in 2020 for protesting removal of a Confederate statue in his hometown and organizing a Michigan Capitol protest against COVID-19 policies.

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

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

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

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

Thursday’s raid comes hours before a U.S. House committee investigating the 2021 attacks on the Capitol will present its findings during a prime-time hearing.

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

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

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