ALLENDALE, Mich. (AP) — Prosecutors are recommending a prison sentence for a former Republican candidate for Michigan governor who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for his participation in the 2021 U.S. Capitol riot.
Ryan Kelley’s arrest in 2022 gave his campaign a burst of notoriety in a conservative multi-candidate field, but he ended up finishing far behind other supporters of former President Donald Trump in the GOP primary election. Conservative commentator Tudor Dixon won the Republican primary but ultimately lost to incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat.
Prosecutors, citing Kelley’s lack of remorse, are urging a judge to lock him up for three months when he returns to a Washington court Oct. 17, The Detroit News reported.
“For two years, Kelley posted statements on Facebook and other social media, making light of the riot, falsely denying that any violence took place, and insisting that he engaged in no wrongdoing,” prosecutors said in a court filing.
In July, Kelley, who lives in Ottawa County, pleaded guilty to a charge of illegally entering a restricted area.
He climbed an “architectural feature” outside the Capitol and then gestured for other rioters behind him to move toward stairs leading up to the building, prosecutors said.
Kelley has said he was “protesting the government” because he did not like the results of the 2020 election.
Defense attorney Gary Springstead said probation, not prison, is an appropriate sentence.
“Mr. Kelley has proven over the last 42 years that he is capable of being a law-abiding citizen and this is his first brush with the law,” Springstead said.