Trump's pardon of Lil Wayne said to be the breaking point for 'QAnon Shaman' in new court documents filled with bizarre anecdotes

Trump's pardon of Lil Wayne said to be the breaking point for 'QAnon Shaman' in new court documents filled with bizarre anecdotes
Jacob Chansley screams "Freedom" inside the Senate chamber after the U.S. Capitol was breached by a mob during a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump.Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • The "QAnon Shaman" requested pretrial release after weeks in solitary confinement, court records say.
  • Counsel for Jacob Chansley said he'd had "significant digestive tract issues" since being jailed.
  • The pretrial-release motion was transparent in its blame of former President Donald Trump.

The "QAnon Shaman" is a published author. You can buy his books on Amazon.

He has been known to "capture and release" insects rather than kill them.

And he reflected on his life choices when President Donald Trump pardoned the rapper Lil Wayne last month.

These bizarre anecdotes are in court documents filed on Tuesday by counsel for the QAnon Shaman, Jacob Anthony Chansley, seeking a pretrial release.

Adorned with horns, a headdress, and face paint, Chansley became one of the most recognizable rioters at the Capitol on January 6. He was photographed with his bullhorn and flagpole throughout the building that day.


He was arrested three days later in his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, and charged with two felonies and four misdemeanors. While many of the people charged in the riot have been granted pretrial release, Chansley has remained in federal facilities since his arrest, court records say.

COVID-19 restrictions have relegated Chansley to solitary confinement for the entirety of his detainment, according to his lawyer, Al Watkins.

Earlier this month, Chansley made headlines when his attorney said he'd lost 20 pounds and hadn't eaten in a week because his religious beliefs prohibited him from eating nonorganic food and the jail wasn't serving organic food.

In a video court hearing, Chansley told a judge that his body suffered when he ate food that was not "made by God." A federal judge eventually ordered the Washington, DC, jail to feed Chansley an organic diet.

But even with the accommodations, Watkins said in the court documents filed Tuesday, Chansley has suffered "significant digestive tract issues for which medical consultation has been sought," though Watkins added that Chansley was appreciative of efforts to meet his dietary needs.


Chansley's "longstanding status as a practicing Shaman precludes him" from receiving any vaccinations, including the COVID-19 shot, Watkins said, adding that the pandemic had made "meaningful, un-monitored" communication between Chansley and his counsel "impossible."

Watkins said that these facts alone should make Chansley eligible for temporary release, though the attorney offered additional arguments, emphasizing Chansley's cooperation during the initial investigation.

The court documents said Chansley returned home to Phoenix on January 7 and was advised that the FBI wanted to talk to him. Watkins said Chansley was "immediately and fully forthcoming" and identified himself in pictures from the riot.

Chansley even allowed officials to inspect his car, which at the time housed his horns, the documents said. "He did so possessed of the genuine belief he had done nothing wrong," Watkins wrote.

During Chansley's detention hearing, officials argued that he was dangerous, highlighting the "spear" he was seen holding in photos from the insurrection.


The court documents spent a considerable amount of space detailing the government's characterization of what Chansley was holding. Watkins argued that it was a flagpole adorned with a finial, an ornament at the top, that "dates to the Native Americans, a fact consistent with the Shamanic faith of the Defendant."

Trump's pardon of Lil Wayne said to be the breaking point for 'QAnon Shaman' in new court documents filled with bizarre anecdotes
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Watkins argued that similar flagpoles in government buildings around the country "give rise to the inevitable conclusion that the Government must not be too concerned that a member of the public will use the flagpole with an eagle or a spear finial as a weapon, otherwise they would not employ same across the country in Federal Government Buildings."

In the weeks since the insurrection, Chansley has been an outspoken critic of Trump, and the release motion was transparent in blaming Trump for inciting the mob.

Chansley twice offered to testify against the former president in his impeachment trial.

"But for the actions and the words of the President, [Chansley] would not have appeared in Washington, DC to support the President, and, but for the specific words of the then-President during his January 6 2021 speech, the Defendant would not have walked down Pennsylvania Avenue and would not have gone into the U.S. Capitol," the motion said.


Some additional findings in the 74-page pretrial-release motion:

  • Chansley had asked Mark Meadows, Trump's chief of staff, for a presidential pardon but was not granted one. When Trump pardoned Lil Wayne, Chansley "was compelled to reconcile his prior faith in former President Trump with the actions and words of President Trump."
  • Chansley has self-published two books. (Watkins included their Amazon information pages.) Watkins described them as "one fiction and one being what might best be described as misguided musings."
  • Chansley left a note for Vice President Mike Pence in the Capitol that said "it's only a matter of time justice is coming." Watkins argued that those words came directly from Trump and weren't meant as a threat to Pence.
  • Watkins said Chansley wanted it noted that he received a speeding ticket in Oklahoma while he was returning to Arizona but had been unable to address it "by virtue of his incarceration."