News

Cedar Rapids man charged in Capitol attack released without bail, must remain in Iowa

Court report reveals details about 35-year-old college graduate

The is a screenshot from New Yorker video, appearing to show Leo Kelly of Cedar Rapids (at far right) during the Jan. 6
The is a screenshot from New Yorker video, appearing to show Leo Kelly of Cedar Rapids (at far right) during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. (New Yorker)
/

Court papers filed in Washington, D.C., reveal more about the Cedar Rapids man facing federal charges in connection with last month’s violent attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Leo Christopher Kelly, 35, is a college graduate and works in a family business as a broker of internet services. He has traveled internationally on mission trips. He is single and has no criminal record except for a drunken-driving arrest 10 years ago.

The profile revealed in Kelly’s pretrial report is at odds with many of those facing criminal charges stemming from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, where individuals were posting plans for the insurrection on social media weeks ahead of the attack and then showed up in military and riot gear.

This week, U.S. District Magistrate Robin Merriweather in Washington released Kelly without bail and ordered him to “stay out of D.C.” except for court appearances and meetings with his lawyer. He must remain in the Northern District of Iowa until his trial, and any travel must be approved by the court.

Kelly is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry with intent to disrupt the orderly conduct of official business and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

If convicted, he faces up to one year in federal prison on the first count, or 10 years if it’s found he had a weapon. He faces up to six months in prison on the second count.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Roberts, during Kelly’s initial appearance Jan. 19 in federal court in Cedar Rapids, added GPS monitoring to Kelly’s conditions of release. He also ordered Kelly to surrender his passport, which he has done.

Kelly’s next court appearance, which is virtual, will be March 8 in Washington.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Kelly’s admission — during interviews with The Gazette and LifeSiteNews last month — that he was “one of the first men to breach the Capitol building and go inside with dozens of others” helped lead an FBI investigator to him.

He also was identified through video taken of the chaotic assault by New Yorker Magazine.

In the video interview with LifeSiteNews, a conservative news site, Kelly said he stayed inside the Capitol between 30 minutes and an hour, according to an affidavit of the criminal complaint.

He told The Gazette last month he wasn’t a violent person and wasn’t part of any destruction or damage of property and items inside the Capitol and personal offices.

Kelly’s background

In the pretrial services report included with court documents in Washington, Kelly told officials he has lived the majority of his life in Cedar Rapids and has traveled internationally for short missionary trips, including to China, India, Amsterdam, France and Spain. The mission agencies were not associated with a denomination but are faith-based organizations, he said.

His parents, Chris and Brenda Kelly, live in Marion, and he has three brothers and two sisters, who he said he was close to. Four of his siblings live in Marion and one lives in Mexico.

Kelly owns a home in Cedar Rapids and has lived there since August of last year, according to the report.

He works for 2 pifi in Cedar Rapids as a broker for internet services. He, his father and two brothers own the company, and Kelly’s father verified his employment, the report said.

Kelly always has worked in Cedar Rapids or the area, except for about a year in 2014-15 when he moved to Minnesota for employment.

He graduated from Kirkwood Community College in 2005 and from Coe College in 2007.

He is single and was arrested in 2010 for drunken driving, when he spent two days in jail and paid a fine. He has no physical or mental health issues, according to the report.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Kira Anne West, a Washington, D.C., attorney, represented Kelly during the status conference this week, according to court records. West, a criminal lawyer, graduated from Drake University Law School in Des Moines.

Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.