‘QAnon Shaman’ pleads guilty to role in US Capitol riots, asks for nickname to be dropped

U.S. & World

In this Jan. 6, 2021 file photo, supporters of President Donald Trump, including Jacob Chansley, right, are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KTVI) — Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man known as the QAnon Shaman, entered a guilty plea in federal court Friday for his role in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots.

Jacob Chansley is facing six counts, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Prosecutors said Chansley was one of the first rioters to enter the Capitol building and disobey officers’ request to leave. He was seen wearing face paint, no shirt and a furry hat with horns.

The judge asked, “So you are in fact guilty?”

Chansley responded, “Yes, your honor.”

Prosecutor said the estimated recommended sentencing would be 41-51 months. Chansley has served eight months.

St. Louis lawyer Albert Watkins, who represents Chansley, is asking for a pre-sentencing release.

Watkins is asking for compassion for Chansley, detailing a “traverse year” leading up to the attack that included depression.

The judge has not decided whether Chansley will be released before the sentencing, saying he will rule on that as quickly as he can. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 17 at 10 a.m.

Watkins argued that it’s the humane thing due to the mental health issues, even though Chansley was found competent to stand trial.

Watkins said the government has characterized Chansley as violent and a risk to the public based on footage provided to his defense team during a hearing about his release. The court said that video was used to support its decision to deny Chansley’s release.

“Subsequent scrutiny of the video footage (including the The New Yorker video specifically cited by the Government) has given rise to the identification of numerous ambiguities, irregularities, inconsistencies, timeline issues and concern about the assertions of the Government about the actions of Mr. Chansley based on the Government’s video footage,” said Watkins in a press release. 

Chansley is one of four Capitol defendants represented by Watkins.

Chansley is among roughly 600 people charged in the riot that forced lawmakers into hiding as they were meeting to certify President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. Fifty others have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanor charges of demonstrating in the Capitol.

Only one defendant who pleaded guilty to a felony charge has received their punishment so far. Paul Hodgkins, a crane operator from Florida who breached the U.S. Senate chamber carrying a Trump campaign flag, was sentenced in July to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to obstructing an official proceeding.

Chansley’s lawyer said his client has since repudiated the QAnon movement and asked that there be no more references to his past affiliations with the movement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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