'QAnon Shaman' Jacob Chansley has pleaded guilty to his role in the Capitol riot after spending 8 months in jail
Jacob Chansley, AKA the " QAnon Shaman," has pleaded guilty to his role in the US Capitol riot.
- He pleaded guilty to obstructing Congress as part of a deal with prosecutors.
- Chansley's attorney is trying to get him released from jail before a November sentencing hearing.
"QAnon Shaman" Jacob Chansley pleaded guilty Friday to a criminal charge related to his role in the January 6 Capitol riot after striking a deal with prosecutors.
In a virtual hearing held by a federal court in Washington, DC, Chansley entered a guilty plea for the second count of a six-count indictment, admitting to obstructing Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Chansley was among the most visible members of the insurrection, donning Viking-style horns, face paint, and fur pelts as he stormed the US Capitol building while Congress voted to certify now-President Joe Biden's electoral victory. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump mobbed the building after he gave a speech a short walk away, falsely saying he won the election and that then-Vice President Mike Pence should block the certification.
Chansley was arrested just days after the riot, and has been held in jail in the eight months since. His attorney Albert Watkins said Friday that Chansley spent most of that time in solitary confinement, up to 23 hours per day, despite not being violent.
Chansley's lawyer has been trying to get him out of jail
Prior to Friday's hearing, US District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth ordered a mental evaluation for Chansley to see if he would be fit to stand trial. The evaluator said he would be competent, Lamberth said.
Watkins has repeatedly failed to get Chansley released from jail as he negotiated with prosecutors over a plea deal. Early in his incarceration, Watkins argued that Chansley could eat only organic food because of his religious beliefs. Lamberth declined to release him, and instead ordered the jail to give him the food he wanted before moving him to another facility.
In Friday's hearing, Watkins said that while the mental evaluation showed that Chansley was competent for a trial, it still demonstrated "issues" that warranted his release.
Assistant US Attorney Kimberly Louise Paschall argued Watkins should remain in jail until his sentencing hearing, which Lamberth scheduled for November 17.
While the obstruction charge Chansley pleaded guilty to carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, Paschall said she would issue a sentencing memo recommending up to around 4 years in prison instead. Chansley's time in jail would likely count toward a prison sentence.
Lamberth said he would issue a decision on whether Chansley should remain in jail prior to the November 17 hearing.
Chansley appeared to make comments about the judge over the course of the mental evaluation, and apologized for any "offense" he may have given.
"I am very appreciative of the court's willingness to have me and my mental vulnerabilities [examined]," Chansley said Friday. "I hope your honor certainly didn't take any offense by anything I said. It was nothing personal whatsoever."
Lamberth said he took no offense.
Chansley also appears to have abandoned his support of the QAnon conspiracy theory, according to Watkins. In a statement Thursday, Watkins said Chansley was "vulnerable to propaganda."
"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 in the statement.
Chansley did not address his "QAnon Shaman" nickname at Friday's hearing, though. The public phone line for the court hearing was flooded by his apparent supporters, several of whom cheered Chansley on before the hearing began.
"Freedom!" they yelled, before a court administrator muted them.
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