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

LANSING — 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.

LANSING — 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 misdemeanor 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. Kelley is expected to appear before a judge later Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan in Grand Rapids.

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

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

Kelley has denied entering the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but court records show he has been charged with multiple misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in prison:

Kelley has denied entering the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but court records show he has been charged with multiple misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in prison:

– Knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority – Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or ground – Knowingly engaging in any act of physical violence against person or property in any restricted building or ground – Willfully injuring or committing any depredation against any property of the United State

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.

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.

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.

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.  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.

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.

In a Thursday tweet, fellow GOP gubernatorial hopeful Kevin Rinke said he has “respect for” Kelley and hopes the “FBI is acting appropriately, because the timing here raises serious questions.” Also on Twitter, Michigan Republican Party Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock asked "do people really get their homes raided and arrested in front of their children over a misdemeanor?"

"Democrats are out in force weaponizing our justice system and targeting their political opponents," she tweeted. The FBI, in affidavit accompanying arrest documents, said it received multiple tips about Kelley in the wake of the U.S. Capitol riot, starting with an anonymous tip on Jan. 16, 2021, that included information also posted on Twitter by an account called Michigan Tea.

A confidential human source — who had began providing information on domestic terrorism groups in Michigan in 2020 — also identified Kelley in video archives published by ProPublica.

A confidential human source — who had began providing information on domestic terrorism groups in Michigan in 2020 — also identified Kelley in video archives published by ProPublica.

The videos described by the FBI do not show Kelley inside the Capitol, but they appear to show him encouraging others to enter the building, helping another protester who pulled down a metal barricade and pulling a "covering" off of an unidentified Capitol structure.

The videos described by the FBI do not show Kelley inside the Capitol, but they appear to show him encouraging others to enter the building, helping another protester who pulled down a metal barricade and pulling a "covering" off of an unidentified Capitol structure.