Related video: QAnon Shaman ‘wounded’ at Trump not helping his case
Jacob Chansley, the so-called QAnon Shaman, has been sentenced to 41 months in prison and 36 months of supervised release.
The sentence is ten months shorter than what the prosecution recommended. Chansley has already served almost 11 months following his January arrest.
Jacob Chansley pleaded guilty in September to obstructing an official proceeding for taking part in the siege of Congress when Trump supporters stormed the legislature in an effort to overturn President Joe Biden’s election victory.
Ahead of today’s sentencing, prosecutors have urged District Judge Royce Lamberth to send Chansley to prison for 51 months.
“Defendant Chansley’s now-famous criminal acts have made him the public face of the Capitol riot,” prosecutors argued.
Chansley’s defence team requested a sentence of time served for the time that he has spent in custody since being detained in January. Prison staff have diagnosed Chansley with transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety during his time behind bars.
As he pled guilty, Chansley said he was disappointed that he hadn’t received a pardon from former President Donald Trump before he left office.
QAnon Shaman: How Jacob Chansley went from storming the Capitol on 6 January to turning against ‘first love’ Donald Trump
Almost immediately after Jacob Anthony Angeli Chansley became the red, white and blue-painted face of the 6 January riot at the US Capitol, the horned QAnon Shaman began to flip against his “first love” Donald Trump.
Mr Chansley had been forced to “reconcile” his shamanistic faith in Mr Trump when the former president rejected his petition for a pardon.
He called the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and outed himself as the flag-carrying Shaman, claimed he was “groomed” by MAGA propaganda, and offered to testify before Congress during Mr Trump’s second impeachment hearing.
But denouncing Mr Trump had little impact on prosecutors, who are asking for the longest sentence yet among the hundreds of rioters charged with a range of misdemeanour and felony offences.
Among more than 600 people arrested after the riot, the QAnon Shaman stands apart as one of the most iconic, bizarre, and enduring examples of the rag-tag mob that stormed the halls of Congress during the last gasp of the Trump administration.
The Navy vet and spiritual guru will always hold a ‘tender and soft spot’ for the president who broke his heart, writes Justin Vallejo
‘QAnon shaman’ deserves four years in jail, prosecutors say – the stiffest 6 January sentence yet
Prosecutors have called for Jacob Chansley, the so-called “QAnon shaman” who has become one of the most recognisable members of the mob that attacked the Capitol on 6 January, be sentenced to 51 months in jail.
If the judge grants that term, it would be the longest sentence yet handed down to any individual in relation with the insurrection – a category that includes hundreds of people facing charges ranging from low-level misdemeanours to more serious criminal offences.
Mr Chansley, who also goes by the name Jake Angeli, was already a familiar face at QAnon-related events before he entered the Capitol shirtless wearing his trademark horns, face-paint and furs. Images of him posing on the dais of the Senate chamber are among the most iconic from the deadly riot.
According to a court filing delivered by prosecutors late on Tuesday, this visibility is a large part of the reason why he should be sentenced to a long term.
Rioter’s defence team have cited his mental health problems as mitigating factors and asked for a lenient sentence
Prosecutors say Chansley ‘was among the first 30 rioters to penetrate the US Capitol building’
Prosecutors said in an earlier legal filing that Chansley was “among the first 30 rioters to penetrate the US Capitol building”.
“The defendant then stalked the hallowed halls of the building, riling up other members of the mob with his screaming obscenities about our nation’s lawmakers, and flouting the ‘opportunity’ to rid our government of those he has long considered to be traitors,” they added.
“The government cannot overstate the seriousness of the defendant’s conduct as one of the most prominent figures of the historic riot on the Capitol on January 6, 2021,” prosecutors continued. “His consistent rhetoric before and after the event, and his apparent ability to carry out his intentions of violently removing the ‘traitors’ in our government, is clear from the evidence in this case. Only the valiant efforts of law enforcement kept those upon whom he set his sights out of his path.”
Defence lawyer says Chansley is mentally vulnerable
Jacob Chansley’s defence lawyer Albert Watkins has argued that his client is mentally vulnerable and he has requested a sentence “significantly below” what prosecutors asked for.
“This case is about a remarkable, gentle, kind, smart, spiritual, non-violent young man who has spent his life trying to overcome significant but secreted vulnerabilities, hardships, and societal neglect to self-educate scholastically, self-educate spiritually, self-navigate societally, and self-conclude that he is accountable for his actions, seeks to be held accountable, and wishes nothing short of the Court recognizing same,” Mr Watkins said, according to ABC News.
“He seeks not to be seen as a political prisoner,” the attorney added. “He seeks not to blame a former president for his actions. He seeks not to justify his actions with any explanation. He seeks solely to be held accountable.”
‘QAnon Shaman’ quotes Forrest Gump in court request for light sentence that is riddled with errors
The memo was Chansley’s fifth plea for freedom ahead of his sentencing next week for participating in the US Capitol Hill riots on 6 January. He pleaded guilty to the charge of obstruction of an official proceeding for his role in September. He is set to be sentenced on 17 November. Sentencing guidelines suggest that he may face between 41 to 51 months in prison.
The 23-page sentencing memo filed by Chansley’s lawyer Albert Watkins starts with a quote from the movie and misspells Forrest Gump’s name. It reads: “‘My momma always said, you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on.’ —Forest Gump,” reported The Daily Beast.
With his bellowing voice, viking-like horns, fur headdress and tattooed, shirtless frame, Chansley became the best-known of the thousands of insurrectionists who stormed the US Capitol to protest the results of the 2020 presidential election. Images of him inside the Capitol circulated widely in the press and on social media during the aftermath of the riot.
The self-described QAnon conspiracy follower was photographed holding a 6ft spear with the American flag tied to it in the Senate chamber, while chanting, shouting, and calling former vice president Mike Pence a “traitor.” He admitted leaving a note saying: “It’s Only A Matter of Time. Justice Is Coming!” on the vice president’s desk.
Jacob Chansley quotes Forrest Gump in plea for a lighter sentencing but misspells movie’s name
Who is the QAnon Shaman?
Chansley, who also goes by the name Jake Angeli, came to national prominence after being photographed in the Senate chamber shirtless with a costume of Viking horns, furs and face paint.
Before becoming a household punchline, Chansley was seen at various rallies throughout 2020 of inconsistent ideological bent, from Black Lives Matter protests to climate rallies to pro-Trump campaign events.
He was often seen with signs like “Q Sent Me” while espousing the core tenets of the QAnon conspiracy, that Q was “a government agent who wanted to ‘take the country back’ from paedophiles and globalists”.
Outside of his public appearances, Chansley was a self-published author and artist who lived by the principle of “Ahimsa”, which promotes a shamanistic life that does no harm to any living being.
His books can be found on Amazon, One Mind At a Time: A Deep State of Illusion, written under the name Jacob Angeli, and Will & Power: Inside the Living Library, written under the name Loan Wolf.
He served briefly in the US Navy aboard the USS Kittyhawk for two years before he was discharged for refusing to take the anthrax vaccine, which violated his shamanistic belief system.
He enlisted as supply clerk seaman apprentice in September 2005 before leaving service 25 months later in 2007. He was awarded decorations including the National Defence Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon.
A profile from Backstage.com showed that Chansley was at one point looking for acting work. That connection, combined with his appearances at protests, demonstrations and riots in support of both left-wing and right-wing causes, led to conspiracy theories that he was a paid actor in a false flag operation.
Prosecutors argue Chansley’s spread of disinformation warrants tougher sentence
The prosecutors have argued that Chansley deserves a tough sentence because of his spread of disinformation concerning the integrity of the 2020 election, because he repeatedly refused to listen to the commands of law enforcement while he was in the Capitol, and because he brandished a flagpole topped with a spear.
“Chansley showed no remorse in the days after the event,” prosecutors wrote, “gloating to NBC News that the actions of the rioters that day sent our nation’s lawmakers into hiding, with gas masks, retreating into their underground bunker.”
Defence asks for mild sentence for Chansley to allow his ‘pursuit of his mental and physical health'
The defence has asked for a sentence below federal guidelines to allow Chansley “to proceed hence with his pursuit of his mental and physical health prioritized”.
The defence added in a sentencing memo that “Chansley was half nude for the entire morning and early afternoon of a wintery January 6, when the temperature was in the 30s and low 40s in Washington, DC. His tattoo-inked torso was on full display”.
The defence team added that Chansley “reached out to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to confirm a request on behalf of the Defendant for a Presidential Pardon of the defendant and other peaceful individuals who had accepted the President’s invitation to go to the Capitol”.
Sentencing hearing begins with prosecutors noting Chansley was first rioter charged
The sentencing hearing of Jacob Chansley in DC court began with the prosecution noting that the defendant was the first rioter to be charged for his actions during the insurrection.
A lawyer in the case has previously said that Chansley is as associated with the case as the “swoosh is with Nike”.
Assistant US Attorney Kimberly Paschall noted during the hearing that while Chansley had not been violent during the riot, he had not been peaceful, mentioning that he yelled “time’s up, motherf***ers” and left a note on the desk of then-Vice President Mike Pence that said “justice is coming”.
Prosecutor says lack of assault or damage 'alone does not a peaceful person make’
Assistant US Attorney Kimberly Paschall argued during the hearing that Chansley energised “thousands” of his followers on social media after the 2020 election.
She added that defence lawyers in cases related to the insurrection are overusing the word “peaceful” to describe their clients, and then showed a video of Chansley yelling.
The prosecutor acknowledged that Chansley didn’t break anything or assault anyone, but argued that “that alone does not a peaceful person make”.
Ms Paschall added that Chansley ignored the commands of law enforcement “at every turn”.