Iowa man arraigned on 7 charges for Jan. 6 US Capitol attack

Posted at 8:24 PM, December 21, 2021 and last updated 7:19 PM, July 5, 2023

By DAVID PITT Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa man charged earlier for his participation in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was arraigned Tuesday on a new federal indictment that includes a felony count that could carry up to 20 years in prison.

Leo Christopher Kelly, 36, of Cedar Rapids, who has been free on pretrial release, appeared via video for his arraignment. His attorney, Kira West, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

Leo Christopher Kelly (Linn County Jail)

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.

A plea agreement apparently is no longer under consideration, according to the information that prosecutor Michael Gordon James provided Judge Royce Lamberth during the hearing.

“The parties have discussed a negotiated plea but that will not occur in this case so this matter should be set for trial,” James said.
Lamberth said he will set at trial date later. He scheduled a status update hearing for Feb. 25.

Kelly was arrested in Iowa on Jan. 18 after participating in an internet interview with members of an anti-abortion organization. Kelly said he followed the Jan. 6 crowd into the U.S. Senate chamber, where he said he remained for 30 minutes to an hour. Kelly said he was caught up in the moment, but that he wasn’t armed and didn’t vandalize anything.

He was released Jan. 19 by a federal magistrate who noted his extremely limited criminal history.

Federal prosecutors issued a new indictment on Dec. 3.