Jacob Anthony Angeli Chansley, known as the QAnon Shaman, is seen at the Capital riots, January 6, 2021.
Brent Stirton | Getty Images
“QAnon shaman” Jacob Chansley, one of the most notorious figures of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, is set to be sentenced Wednesday for his role in the invasion of the halls of Congress by a horde of Trump supporters.
Chansley, a 34-year-old Phoenix, Arizona, resident who has been held without bail since his arrest in January, pleaded guilty in September to a single criminal count of obstructing a proceeding of Congress.
Prosecutors are seeking a prison term of four years and three months for the U.S. Navy veteran Chansley, which is the top end of the 41-months-to-51 months range suggested by federal sentencing guidelines.
A prosecutor said such a sentence would send a warning to others who would seek to interfere with the peaceful transfer of the presidential office in the future.
During Chansley’s sentencing hearing in Washington, D.C., federal court, a prosecutor played a video of Chansley howling while inside Congress.
“Time’s up you motherf—- !” Chansley shouted.
The prosecutor said, “Your honor, that is chilling.”
Chansley’s lawyer asked for a sentence below the guidelines, citing the defendant’s “sincere remorse for the his conduct,” and the mental illness which has plagued him for years.
Chansley cited lessons of Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and the Stephen King prison movie “The Shawshank Redemption,” in rambling comments before he was sentenced.
“I was wrong for entering the Capitol. I have no excuse. No excuse whatsoever,” Chansley said. “I am truly, truly repentant of my actions.”
But he said he was not a violent man, much less a “domestic terrorist,” as he admitted his crime.
“I broke the law, and if I believe in freedom, and if I believe in law and order, and I believe in responsibility, then I should do what Gandhi would do, and take responsibility,” he said.
“I hope that you see my heart and my desire to live the life of Christ or Gandhi,” Chansley told Judge Royce Lamberth.
Last week, another rioter, former New Jersey gym owner Scott Fairlamb was sentenced to 41 months in prison for assaulting a police officer, the longest term up to that date for Jan. 6 defendants.
Chansley was the first Capitol riot defendant to be indicted. Since then, more than 600 other people have been criminally charged in connection with the insurrection.
The tattooed Chansley was shirtless, wielding a spear, wearing face paint and a fur hat with horns when he walked into the Capitol complex with thousands of other people. The mob disrupted a joint session of Congress as lawmakers confirmed President Joe Biden‘s victory in the 2020 election.
Then-President Donald Trump urged Republican lawmakers to vote against confirming Biden’s win, and called on his supporters to march to the Capitol to promote that effort.
Photos and videos of Chansley in his bizarre garb went viral the day of the riot, and remained widely published in the weeks afterward.
“He made himself the image of the riot, didn’t he?” Lamberth asked Chansley’s lawyer Albert Watkins on Wednesday.
Watkins agreed Chansley had done so.
Chansley was one of a number of rioters who entered the Senate chamber, where then-Vice President Mike Pence minutes before was presiding over proceedings.
Prosecutors said Chansley sat in Pence’s seat on the dais. They said he refused an order by a police officer to leave, instead “calling other rioters up to the dais and leading them in an incantation over his bullhorn.”
Chansley left a note on the dais, which said, “It’s Only a Matter of Time. Justice is Coming,” and called Pence a “f—ing traitor.”
Chansley was an adherent of the bogus QAnon conspiracy theory.
Watkins argued Wednesday that his client was neither a planner or organizer of the riot.
Reuters reported in July that Chansley, who is also known as Jacob Angeli, was in plea negotiations with prosecutors after prison psychologists diagnosed him as suffering from mental illnesses including transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.
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