Jacob Chansley, the person federal prosecutors referred to as “the public face of the Capitol riot,” was sentenced to 41 months in federal jail on Wednesday, one of many longest sentences handed down to date in reference to the occasions of Jan. 6.
Chansley, a 34-year-old Donald Trump supporter who was often called the “QAnon Shaman” and wore a viking hat with fur and horns and carried a spear bearing an American flag when he stormed the Capitol, was sentenced by Judge Royce C. Lamberth. Last week, Lamberth sentenced a New Jersey man who assaulted an officer outdoors of the Capitol on Jan. 6 to 41 months in federal jail.
“If the defendant had been peaceful on that day, your honor, we would not be here,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Paschall informed Lamberth on Wednesday.
“‘Times up, motherfuckers’ is not peaceful, your honor,” Paschall mentioned, referencing what Chansley yelled within the Senate chamber. “That’s chilling.” She famous the letter Chansley left on Vice President Mike Pence’s desk ― which mentioned, “It’s only a matter of time. Justice is coming.” ― was “not peaceful.” She referred to as the be aware “a threat.”
Paschall mentioned that whereas Chansley didn’t assault police that day, the choose ought to be aware the tenor of Jan. 6 and skim the threatening be aware in that context. She additionally famous that Chansley referred to as Pence “a fucking traitor” from the dais within the Senate.
“None of what happened on Jan. 6, 2021, was peaceful,” Paschall mentioned, including Chansley engaged in “obstructionist activities” that day. She requested the court docket to ship a message to the “flag-bearer” of Jan. 6 and every other individuals, no matter their political views, that there are penalties for making an attempt to impede American democracy.
Lamberth mentioned what Chansley did was “horrific” and “terrible,” and that whereas he believed Chansley had certainly modified and was apologetic, that he wouldn’t depart from the sentencing pointers (which steered a minimal of 41 months) due to the “serious nature of the crime itself.”
Chansley, who pleaded responsible in September to a felony depend of obstruction of an official continuing, was among the many first 30 rioters to breach the Capitol on Jan. 6 and confronted off with cops outdoors the Senate chamber as senators scrambled to security.
Speaking earlier than Lamberth simply earlier than he was sentenced, Chansley thanked the choose for shifting him to a different jail the place he might get an natural eating regimen.
“I believe in freedom with all my heart and soul,” Chansley mentioned. “But I also believe in law and order, because without law and order you can’t have freedom.”
Chansley mentioned he got here to know why Lamberth stored him locked up pretrial, and mentioned that “men of honor” admit after they’re improper.
“I was in solitary confinement because of me, because of my decision. I broke the law, and if I believe in freedom, if I believe in law and order … I should take responsibility,” Chansley mentioned. “I needed the time to reevaluate.”
Chansley mentioned he got here to comprehend he was improper for getting into the Capitol, however mentioned he was not “an insurrectionist” or “a domestic terrorist,” simply “a good man who broke the law.” Chansley mentioned he would “do everything differently” if he might return and relive Jan. 6.
Minutes later, Chansley made his manner contained in the gallery of the U.S. Senate, the place he yelled “time’s up motherfuckers” as different rioters rifled by means of senators’ desks within the chamber under. He ultimately made his strategy to the ground of the Senate, the place he took the seat that had been occupied by then-Vice President Mike Pence. Chansley referred to as Pence “a fucking traitor” and left his letter on the desk.
Chansley’s legal professional, Al Watkins, mentioned in September that his shopper “REPUDIATES THE ‘Q’ MONIKER” and now not wished to be often called the QAnon Shaman and had began to move away from his perception within the QAnon conspiracy principle.
“Have I witnessed this traversing of a path away from QAnon by Jacob? Absolutely. Has he extricated himself such that his boots don’t smell of QAnon? No. No, it’s still there,” Watkins mentioned. “And it’s going to take time.”
On Wednesday, Watkins mentioned the court docket was in a “remarkably unique position” each to each hand out justice and to assist bridge the political divide by displaying mercy on Chansley.
“He is accountable, and wants to be held accountable,” Watkins mentioned.
The authorities requested for a sentence of 51 months in federal jail, saying his legal acts had “made him the public face of the Capitol riot.”
“Armed with a six-foot long spear, the defendant brazenly marched past dozens of law enforcement officers, with rioters throwing debris of all kind at those who opposed them, past broken windows and through doors ringing with alarm bells,” federal prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo. “The defendant was among the first 30 rioters to penetrate the U.S. Capitol building. The defendant then stalked the hallowed halls of the building, riling up other members of the mob with his screaming obscenities about our nation’s lawmakers, and flouting the ‘opportunity’ to rid our government of those he has long considered to be traitors.”
The Justice Department informed Judge Lamberth that it was “important to convey to future rioters and would-be mob participants ― especially those who intend to improperly influence the democratic process ― that their actions will have consequences.”
The harm from Jan. 6, the DOJ argued, “will last far longer than the hours’ delay” within the certification of the outcomes of the presidential election.
“The world watched the actions of this defendant and others on January 6, 2021 shake one of the foundations of our democracy ― the peaceful transfer of power after free and fair elections ― and has made us all question the safety and security of the country in which we live,” they wrote. “Those enormous harms, borne out of the acts of this defendant, must be deterred so that we never see a similar assault on our democracy again.”
Chansley’s legal professional argued in a sentencing memo that his shopper has “mental health vulnerabilities” and confirmed “apparent Forest Gump-like obliviousness too much of the activity and many of the actions of those surrounding him as he approached, entered, and traversed the Capitol.” Chansley’s father was incarcerated for the “lion’s share” of Chansley’s life, and his stepfather ― who Chansley’s lawyer mentioned imposed “extraordinary physical and mental abuse” on his shopper ― died by suicide in 2013. Chansley’s lawyer mentioned his shopper has now been identified with schizotypal persona dysfunction, nervousness, and melancholy.
“Patience and compassion represent the only course that is medically appropriate, ethically appropriate, and legally appropriate,” Watkins wrote, asking the court docket to condemn his shopper to time served. “It is time for the Shaman to start on his journey to freedom ― not from jail, but from mental health infirmities of significance. It is time for Mr. Chansley to commence his journey from within.”