Cedar Rapids Man Pleads Not Guilty to 7 Counts for Capitol Riot Involvement
Leo Christopher Kelly, a native of Cedar Rapids, participated in the capitol riots that took place on January 6 of this year. After being identified on film from the day's events, he was arrested by FBI Agents.
His two initial charges were the following, according to Verify This:
- Knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority
- Violent entry with intent to disrupt the orderly conduct of official business and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds
He's since been arraigned on five other charges. KWWL reported that a grand jury convened on Nov. 10 and decided to file the five additional charges on Dec. 3. Those include obstructing an official proceeding, entering a restricted building, parading or demonstrating in a Capitol building, and two disorderly conduct charges, per YahooNews.
Per USNews, "The most serious of the seven charges Kelly faces is obstruction of an official proceeding. Two other charges of entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct in a restricted building carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. The remaining charges are misdemeanors carrying up to six months in prison."
Kelly, who has been free on pretrial release (due to his limited criminal record), appeared via video for his arraignment. His attorney, Kira West, entered a not guilty plea to all charges, despite the fact that Kelly was seen on camera during the attack.
He also participated in an interview with LifeSiteNews.com, a media outlet devoted to anti-abortion, faith, and morality-focused coverage, where he told the outlet that he'd been in the Capitol for 30 to 60 minutes and prayed on the Senate floor. The video of the interview is no longer available on their site, but quotes from the interaction are still visible.
Kelly also said he was not armed or violent during the riot, but felt those who raided the capitol had "no other choice" because "no one will even listen to us."
We’ve been betrayed by Congress. We’ve been betrayed by the judicial branch. We’ve been betrayed by our local governments, our mayors. ... So, you know, at some point you reach a point and you just say, ‘Well, none of my institutions are working. What am I supposed to do?
Perhaps I did something wrong, you know. I tried to be as respectful as I could while I was in there, you know, while still saying what I felt needed to be said.