Jacob Chansley, the former actor and Navy sailor better known as the QAnon Shaman, who was portrayed by a prosecutor as “the flag-bearer” of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, was sentenced on Wednesday to 41 months in prison.
Mr. Chansley, 34, emerged as one of the riot’s most familiar figures, largely because of the outlandish costume he wore that day: a horned helmet, a fur pelt draped across his naked shoulders and a thick patina of red-white-and-blue face paint.
Images of him standing on a Senate floor, shouting and holding a spear made of a flagpole were shot around the globe. This stark reminder of his role in the assault by adherents to QAnon, a cultlike conspiracy theory embraced some backers by former President Donald J. Trump, is stark.
Mr. Chansley’s sentence, handed down by Judge Royce C. Lamberth of Federal District Court in Washington, brought an end not only to one of the most widely publicized Capitol cases, but also to one of the strangest. Not long after the attack, Mr. Chansley’s lawyer, Albert Watkins, announced that his client wanted Mr. Trump to pardon him and later offered to have him testify at the former president’s second impeachment trial.
In February, Mr. Watkins convinced the federal judge to order Mr. Chansley’s Virginia jail to provide organic meals. The next month, Mr. Chansley gave a widely watched interview to “60 Minutes,” saying that his actions on Jan. 6 were not an assault on the nation, but rather a way to “bring God back into the Senate.”
This circuslike atmosphere continued on Wednesday as scores of people attended a court hearing where Mr. Watkins asked Judge Lamberth to heal the country’s divisions by issuing a fair sentence. Mr. Watkins told the judge that he could “mete out justice and emphasize common ground upon which all of us can somehow bridge this great divide.”
When Mr. Chansley addressed court, he cited Jesus, Gandhi, and Justice Clarence Thomas. He went on to discuss his tattoos, his late grandfather’s role in his life and the prison movie “The Shawshank Redemption.”
He also apologized for his role in attacking the Capitol, saying that in the days since, he has often looked into the mirror and told himself, “You really messed up, royally.”
In connection with the Capitol attack more than 30 people were sentenced. Most of them avoided prison time by pleading guilty or illegally parading inside the building. Last week, a former New Jersey gym owner was also given 41 months in prison for punching a police officer during the riot — the first of almost 200 riot cases of people charged with assault to reach the sentencing phase.
In September, Mr. Chansley admitted to one count of obstruction of a congressional proceeding. On Wednesday, Mr. Watkins asked for leniency for his case, stating, among other, that he has lived with mental illness for several years. Judge Lamberth assessed Mr. Chansley and decided that he was competent enough to proceed with his case.
Understand the Claim of Executive Privilege in the Jan. 6. Enquire
Untested key issue. Donald Trump’s power as former president to keep information from his White House secret has become a central issue in the House’s investigation of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Amid an attempt by Mr. Trump to keep personal records secret and the indictment of Stephen K. Bannon for contempt of Congress, here’s a breakdown of executive privilege:
The government had recommended that he be sentenced to 51 months in prison, saying that long before Jan. 6, Mr. Chansley encouraged his large social media following to “identify traitors in our government” and to “stop the steal” — a reference to Mr. Trump’s repeated lies that the 2020 election was marred by fraud.
Two weeks after the presidential race ended, Mr. Chansley was already promoting violence online, prosecutors say, posting a message that read, “We shall have no real hope to survive the enemies arrayed against us until we hang the traitors lurking among us.”
On Jan. 6, the government says, Mr. Chansley was among the first 30 rioters to enter the Capitol and quickly used a bullhorn to “rile up the crowd and demand that lawmakers be brought out.” Within an hour, he had made it to the Senate floor, taking the seat that Vice President Mike Pence had only just evacuated and leaving a note on the dais saying, “It’s Only A Matter of Time. Justice Is Coming!”
In the days after the attack, Mr. Chansley gave an interview to NBC News in which he said he considered Jan. 6 “a win.” He also told the F.B.I. that he believed Mr. Pence was “a child trafficking traitor” and that the U.S. government was tyrannical, prosecutors say.
After Mr. Chansley’s lengthy speech to the court, Judge Lamberth thanked him, saying the comments were among the most remarkable he had heard in 34 years on the bench. The judge then informed Mr. Chansley he would still have time in prison.
“What you did is terrible,” he said.
Source: NY Times