Jacob Chansley, the former actor and naval sailor known as QAnon Shaman, who was portrayed by the attorney general as the “flag bearer” in the January 6 attack on the Capitol, was sentenced Wednesday to 41 months in prison.
Mr. Chansley, 34, emerged as one of the riot’s most familiar figures, largely due to the peculiar outfit he wore that day: a horned helmet, fur draped over his bare shoulders, thick paint of red and white and– Blue face paint.
Pictures of him standing on the Senate floor screaming and waving a spear made of flagpole around the world are a stark reminder of the role played by followers of QAnon, the cult-like conspiracy theory espoused by some supporters of former President Donald J. trump card.
Mr. Chansley’s ruling, delivered by Judge Royce C. Lamberth of Federal District Court in Washington, put an end not only to one of the most pervasive Capitol cases, but also to one of the strangest Capitol cases. Shortly after the attack, Mr. Chansley’s lawyer, Albert Watkins, announced that his client wanted Mr. Trump to pardon him and later offered to testify in the former president’s second impeachment trial.
In February, Mr. Watkins persuaded a federal judge to order a prison order in Virginia where Mr. Chancely was detained in most of his case for serving a strict diet of organic meals. The following month, Mr. Chanceley gave a wide-ranging witness interview to “60 Minutes,” saying his actions on January 6 were not an attack on the nation, but rather a way to “bring God back to the Senate.”
The circus-like atmosphere continued on Wednesday as dozens of people attended a court hearing as Mr. Watkins asked Judge Lamberth to address the divisions in the country with a fair verdict. Mr Watkins told the judge that he could “bring justice to the common ground that all of us can somehow bridge this great divide”.
When Mr. Chanceley addressed the court, he quoted Jesus, Gandhi, and Judge Clarence Thomas. He went on to talk about tattoos, the role of his late grandfather in his life, and the prison movie “The Shawshank Redemption.”
He also apologized for his role in the Capitol attack, saying that in the days that followed, he would often look in the mirror and say to himself, “You really got it wrong, mine.”
More than 30 people have been sentenced in connection with the Capitol attack, most of whom avoided prison terms by pleading guilty to minor offenses such as disorderly conduct or illegal walking in the building. Last week, a former New Jersey gym owner was sentenced to 41 months in prison for punching a police officer during a riot — the first of 200 riots cases of people accused of assault to come to the sentencing stage.
Mr. Chansley pleaded guilty in September to one felony count of obstructing formal proceedings before Congress. In court on Wednesday, Mr. Watkins called for leniency on his behalf, saying, among other things, that he had lived for several years with mental illness. After evaluation, Judge Lamberth found Mr. Chanceley qualified enough to pursue his case.
Understanding your January 6 executive franchise claim. Inquiry
A major issue that has yet to be tested. Donald Trump’s power as a former president to keep information from a White House secret has become a central issue in the House investigation into the January 6 riots at the Capitol. Amid an attempt by Mr. Trump to keep personal records secret and Stephen K. Bannon’s conviction for contempt of Congress, here’s the breakdown of executive privilege:
The government recommended that he be sentenced to 51 months in prison, saying that long before January 6, Mr. Chansley encouraged his followers on big social media sites to “identify traitors in our government” and “stop theft” – a reference to Mr Trump’s repeated lies that the 2020 election was marred by forgery.
Two weeks after the presidential race ended, Mr. Chanceley was already promoting violence online, prosecutors say, posting a message that said: “We will have no real hope of surviving the enemies rallied against us until the traitors lurking among us are hanged.”
On January 6, the government says, Mr. Chansley was among the first 30 rioters to enter the Capitol and quickly used a bugle to “stoke the crowd and demand the lawmakers be removed.” Within an hour, he reached the Senate floor, took the seat that Vice President Mike Pence had just vacated, and left a note on the podium saying, “It’s only a matter of time. Justice is coming!”
In the days following the attack, Mr. Chansley gave an interview to NBC News in which he said he considered January 6 a “win.” He also told the FBI that he believed Mr. Pence was a “child-trafficking traitor” and that the US government was tyrannical, prosecutors say.
After Mr. Chansley’s lengthy speech in court, Judge Lamberth thanked him, saying the comments were among the most remarkable he had heard in his 34 years on the podium. But the judge then told Mr. Chansley that he still had to spend time in prison.
“What you did is terrible,” he said.