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‘QAnon Shaman’ pleads guilty for role in Capitol riot

Published: Updated:

The US Capitol rioter nicknamed the “QAnon Shaman” is disappointed former President Donald Trump did not pardon him, his defense lawyer said on Friday after the man pleaded guilty to taking part in the Jan. 6 unrest.

Jacob Chansley, of Phoenix, Arizona, was photographed inside the Capitol shirtless, wearing a horned headdress and heavily tattooed. He has been held without bond since his arrest shortly after the riot, and on Friday entered a guilty plea to obstructing an official proceeding.

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While in detention, Chansley underwent mental examinations and was diagnosed by prison officials with transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.

Jacob Chansley, holding a sign referencing QAnon, speaks as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather to protest about the early results of the 2020 presidential election, in front of the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC), in Phoenix, Arizona November 5, 2020. (File Photo: Reuters)
Jacob Chansley, holding a sign referencing QAnon, speaks as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather to protest about the early results of the 2020 presidential election, in front of the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC), in Phoenix, Arizona November 5, 2020. (File Photo: Reuters)

Nearly 600 people have been arrested over the attack on the Capitol where Congress was meeting to certify Joe Biden’s November victory over Trump. Earlier Trump had given a fiery speech falsely claiming his defeat was the result of fraud.

While the felony charge Chansley pleaded guilty to carries both a maximum 20-year prison term and a fine of up to $250,000, prosecutor Kimberly Paschall indicated the maximum sentence the government was likely to request would be much shorter.

Jacob Chansley, who donned a horned headdress and face paint during the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, poses for an undated booking photograph at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S. Alexandria Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters.
Jacob Chansley, who donned a horned headdress and face paint during the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, poses for an undated booking photograph at the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S. Alexandria Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters.

Chansley had been a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory that casts Trump as a savior figure and elite Democrats as a cabal of Satanist pedophiles and cannibals.

Although he did not get a pardon from Trump, Chansley’s defense lawyer Albert Watkins said “there will always be a soft spot” for Trump in Chansley’s heart.

Jacob Anthony Chansley of Arizona stands with other supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump as they demonstrate on the second floor of the U.S. Capitol near the entrance to the Senate after breaching security defenses, in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. (File Photo: Reuters)
Jacob Anthony Chansley of Arizona stands with other supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump as they demonstrate on the second floor of the U.S. Capitol near the entrance to the Senate after breaching security defenses, in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. (File Photo: Reuters)

At Friday’s plea hearing, Watkins asked Judge Royce Lamberth to allow Chansley to be released from prison pending a sentencing hearing, scheduled for Nov. 17. The judge said he would consider this request.

Watkins noted that prosecutors had acknowledged Chansley was “not a planner or organizer” of the riot. Watkins later told reporters that Chansley had cooperated with Jan. 6 investigations and informed on a group he saw stealing classified materials from a Senate office.

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