Public Safety

Cedar Rapids man charged in U.S. Capitol riot released pending trial with special conditions, including GPS monitoring

Screenshot from New Yorker video, appearing to show Leo Kelly (at right) during the U.S. Capitol invasion, just before a
Screenshot from New Yorker video, appearing to show Leo Kelly (at right) during the U.S. Capitol invasion, just before a prayer was spoken.
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CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man facing charges in the violent attack two weeks ago on the U.S. Capitol was ordered Tuesday to be released until trial without bail but with special conditions including GPS monitoring.

Leo Christopher Kelly, 35, made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Iowa on two charges out of U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia. He 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.

Family members and friends of Kelly’s attended the short hearing.

There also were five deputy U.S. marshals, along with a security officer in the courtroom, likely because of the circumstances of the charged crimes. Typically, there are two deputy marshals during courtroom procedures for in-custody defendants.

Kelly, who answered “yes” or “no” to brief questions from U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Roberts, waived a request for an identity hearing and a preliminary hearing in the District of Columbia or in the Northern District of Iowa, which he could request because he was arrested in this district.

U.S. Attorney Peter Deegan didn’t ask for Kelly to be detained pending trial, but did ask that Roberts place special conditions on his release — GPS monitoring, limit his travel to Washington, D.C., only for court proceedings and meetings with his lawyer, and bar travel otherwise outside of this Iowa district.

Roberts said he would include all of those conditions, and an order to surrender his passport and not try to obtain another while the case proceeds.

Roberts told Kelly he was granting his release from jail because the prosecution didn’t ask for detention and because of Kelly’s lack of criminal history. Kelly only has a drunken driving conviction from 2010, according to records.

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Roberts said the case would be transferred to the District of Columbia and Kelly was to report to a Feb. 9 status hearing there. No trial date will be set until arraignment.

If convicted, Kelly faces up to one year in federal prison. If a weapon was used or carried or if the offense resulted in significant bodily injury, he could face up to 10 years on the first count. He faces up to six months in prison on the second count.

Kelly’s admission that he was “one of the first men to breach the Capitol building and go inside with dozens of others” to The Gazette and LifeSiteNews, a conservative website, helped lead an FBI investigator to him.

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

The video, shot by Luke Mogelson of the New Yorker Magazine, showed the scene unfolding on the Senate floor at the time of the incursion.

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

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

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