‘QAnon Shaman’, facing 28 years in prison, cuts deal with federal prosecutors over Jan. 6 riot

The man known as “QAnon Shaman,” a colorful figure who gained national notoriety during the breach of the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6, has copped a plea with federal prosecutors and is scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

Thirty-three-year-old Jacob Chansley will appear via videolink in a federal court in Washington, D.C., at 11 a.m. EDT for a hearing regarding his plea arrangement, according to court documents cited by a number of media outlets.

The terms of Chansley’s plea arrangement were not immediately known, but reports said he faced up to 28 years in prison for taking part in the breach, stemming from six charges after being arrested at his Phoenix home days after the riot.

Chansley stood out from the others who breached the Capitol because of his unusual attire, which included a horned headdress and painted face. Also, he was a self-professed public supporter of the QAnon conspiracies which portray former President Donald Trump as America’s savior and elite Democrats as sadistic pedophiles.

Albert Watkins, Chansley’s lawyer, told the Daily Mail in a statement Thursday that his client no longer believes in the QAnon conspiracy and has asked that the term no longer be associated with him.

“Mr. Chansley, a long avowed and practicing Shaman, has repudiated the ‘Q’ previously assigned to him and requests future references to him be devoid of use of the letter ‘Q’,” Watkins said, going on to confirm that indeed, there was a plea arrangement that federal prosecutors had agreed to, without revealing any of the details. He also said that Chansley is not a violent person but that he sometimes deals with mental health issues while asking for “patience and compassion” for his client.

“The path charted by Mr. Chansley since January 6 has been a process, one which has involved pain, depression, solitary confinement, introspection, recognition of mental health vulnerabilities, and a coming to grips with the need for more self-work,” the St. Louis-based Watkins added.

“It is imperative that patience and compassion be accorded those, who like Mr. Chansley, were non-violent, peaceful and possessed of genuine mental health issues which rendered them more vulnerable to the propaganda of the day but who, at the end of day, seek to be accountable for their actions,” the attorney continued.

In July, Watkins said that his client was considering a plea deal after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, depression, transient schizophrenia, and anxiety by health officials with the federal Bureau of Prisons.

He also said that Chansley suffered from delusions, “believing that he was indeed related directly to Jesus and Buddha.”

“As he spent more time in solitary confinement… the decline in his acuity was noticeable, even to an untrained eye,” Watkins said of the mental health findings that have yet to otherwise be made public, the Daily Mail noted. “What we’ve done is we’ve taken a guy who is unarmed, harmless, peaceful… with a pre-existing mental vulnerability of significance, and we’ve rendered him a chocolate soup mess.”

To that point, in May Watkins gave an expletive-laden interview to a left-wing outlet, Talking Points Memo, in which he called his client and others who entered the Capitol Jan. 6 “retarded” and “short-bus people.”

“A lot of these defendants – and I’m going to use this colloquial term, perhaps disrespectfully – but they’re all f**king short-bus people,” Watkins told the outlet. “These are people with brain damage, they’re f***ing retarded, they’re on the godd**n spectrum.”

And yet, he added, “they’re our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors, our coworkers – they’re part of our country. These aren’t bad people, they don’t have prior criminal history.”

In January, days after he was arrested, Chansley, through Watkins, appeared to blame Trump for his decision to take part in the storming of the Capitol.

Watkins told St. Louis-based KSDK-TV that his client “regrets very, very much having not just been duped by the President, but by being in a position where he allowed that duping to put him in a position to make decisions he should not have made.”

Pleading guilty to his charges and cutting a deal means Chansley won’t have to stand trial. However, he will still need to be declared mentally fit in order to make the deal.

Jon Dougherty

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