(Source: MIRS.news, Published 06/16/2022) Gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley's attorney unsuccessfully sought a federal judge's approval to allow the candidate to carry his firearm for self-defense as he campaigns.
However, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Robin M. Meriweather did agree to allow Kelley to "travel through" other states, if he leaves Michigan's borders while flying during his campaign. He also was ordered to surrender his passport.
Kelley, who was arrested June 9 during an FBI raid at his Allendale Township home, made his first appearance in the District of Columbia courtroom today via Zoom. He spoke only twice throughout the less than 30-minute hearing – first to say "good afternoon" to the judge and then to reply, "I do" when asked if he understood and agreed to abide by the release conditions.
Kelley returns to court at 1:30 p.m. July 7 for a preliminary hearing before Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey in the District of Columbia.
Kelley is charged with four misdemeanors – knowingly entering/remaining in restricted building; disorder and disruptive conduct; knowingly engaging in physical violence against person/property on restricted grounds; and willfully injure or commit any depredation against U.S. property – in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The charges carry penalties of up to one year in prison and fines up to $1,000 each.
Kelley's attorney, Gary Springstead, asked Meriweather to allow Kelley to carry a firearm even though a standard release condition for about 800 people charged in connection with the riot is no weapons.
"He is a high-profile candidate in Michigan and due to the nature of the campaign, he doesn't have security," the attorney said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederick Yette objected to making an exception.
Kelley has said his arrest helped boost his campaign, which arguably is confirmed by a poll from Detroit Free Press and polling partners EPIC-MRA of Lansing, which shows 17% of respondents named Kelley as their preferred candidate for the August primary while 13% picked chiropractor Garrett Soldano.
The remaining candidates, businessman Kevin Rinke, businesswoman Tudor Dixon and pastor Ralph Rebandt, received 12%, 5% and 1%, respectively.
Although she lags in the polls, Dixon has received major endorsements like the DeVos family, Michigan Right to Life and Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and arguably could get former President Donald Trump's.
The largest portion – 45% – remain undecided while 7% supported a write-in candidate. To date, retired Detroit Police Chief James Craig has filed as a write-in candidate.
Craig was the frontrunner, gaining support from GOP leaders like U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman (R) and former Gov. John Engler, both of whom later abandoned him.
The Michigan Democratic Party said Kelley's lead comes as GOP "leadership and the entire Republican gubernatorial field closed ranks around" Kelley to defend his participation in the Jan. 6 riot.
Rinke said in a tweet that he "respects Ryan Kelley" and questioned the timing of Kelley's arrest while Soldano tweeted an accusation that the FBI is "an arm of the Democrat Party" and of "intimidating Republicans while crime runs rampant across America."
Dixon also questioned the timing of the arrest and charges, saying it "looks a lot like another example of political prosecution by a Democrat Party notorious for weaponizing government" and Rebandt issued a statement saying it was the latest step for "the left" to "politicize everything."
"As further testament to Ryan Kelley’s newfound frontrunner status this cycle, every other Republican quickly bent the knee the day of his arrest, scrambling to issue statements to prove their unbridled commitment to shouldering baseless lies about the electoral process and floating whichever conspiracy theories suit their backwards agendas," MDP spokesperson Rodericka Applewhaite said. "Michiganders deserve leadership that will look ahead, not remain stuck re-litigating past conspiracies and abetting those that violently target the pillars of our democracy."