Arizona man known as ‘QAnon Shaman’ pleads guilty to felony in Capitol Riot | Voice of America
PHOENIX – An Arizona man who wore face paint, no shirt and a fur hat with horns when he joined the mob that stormed the United States Capitol on January 6 pleaded guilty on Friday on a felony charge and wants to be released from prison pending conviction.
Jacob Chansley, who has been widely photographed in the Senate Chamber with a pole topped with a spear, could face 41 to 51 months in prison under sentencing guidelines, a prosecutor said. The man who called himself “QAnon Shaman” has been jailed for nearly eight months since his arrest.
Prior to entering the plea, Chansley was found mentally competent by a judge after being transferred to a Colorado facility for a mental health assessment. His attorney Albert Watkins said the solitary confinement that Chansley faced for most of his time in prison took a toll on his mental health and that his time in Colorado helped him regain his sharpness.
“I am very grateful for the court’s willingness to have my mental vulnerabilities examined,” Chansley said before pleading guilty to a charge of obstructing a formal process.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth is reviewing Chansley’s request for release pending his conviction, which is set for November 17.
Chansley was among the first wave of pro-Trump rioters to break into the Capitol building. He shouted into a megaphone as officers attempted to control the crowd, posed for photos, roughly calling then Vice President Mike Pence a traitor while in the Senate. He wrote a note to Pence saying, “It is only a matter of time, justice is coming.” He also posted a social media post in November promoting hangings for traitors.
The image of Chansley with his face painted like the American flag, wearing a bearskin headdress and appearing to be screaming was one of the first striking images to emerge from the riot.
Chansley is among some 600 people indicted in the riot that forced lawmakers into hiding as they gathered to certify President Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College. Fifty other people have pleaded guilty, mostly to felony charges of demonstrating on Capitol Hill.
Only one defendant who has pleaded guilty to a felony charge has been punished so far. Paul Hodgkins, a Florida crane operator who violated the US Senate chamber carrying a Trump campaign flag, was sentenced in July to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to obstructing a formal process.
Chansley’s attorney said his client had since repudiated the QAnon movement and requested that there be no more references to his past affiliations with the movement.
The man had long been a regular at Trump rallies. Two months before the riot, he appeared in a suit and carried a QAnon sign during a protest alongside other Trump supporters outside an election office in Phoenix where votes were being counted.
His lawyer said Chansley had once been “horribly enamored” with Trump and believed, like other rioters, that Trump called him to Capitol Hill, but then felt betrayed after Trump refused to grant a pardon. to Chansley and others who participated in the uprising.
After spending his first month in prison, Chansley said he reassessed his life, regretted storming the building and apologized for scaring others.
Chansley twice quit eating in prison and lost 20 pounds (9 kilograms) until authorities gave him organic food.
Watkins characterized the spear Chansley wore as an ornament, disputed that his client’s note to Pence was threatening, and claimed Chansley was part of the third wave of rioters on Capitol Hill.
But the judge said the video shows Chansley, who entered the Capitol through a door as rioters smashed windows nearby, “literally spearheaded” the rush into the building.