The so-called ‘QAnon Shaman’ who became infamous as one of the faces of the US Capitol riots two months ago while sporting face paint, no shirt and a furry hat with horns, will remain jailed until his trial, a federal judge ruled Monday.
The judge said the man’s willingness to resort to violence and refusal to follow police orders during the siege signal that he wouldn’t follow court-ordered conditions of release.
Jake Angeli, also known as Jacob Chansley, was one of the most recognizable members of the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6 that left five dead.
Jacob Chansley, the QAnon Shaman, has had his latest bid for release denied
Chansley had been arguing for his release on medical and religious grounds
Chansley has requested to be released from custody while he waits for trial on his charges which include interfering with police during a civil disorder and obstruction of Congress.
But Judge Royce Lamberth said Chansley doesn’t fully appreciate the severity of the charges against him and found none of Chansley´s ‘many attempts to manipulate the evidence and minimize the seriousness of his actions’ to be persuasive.
The judge also scolded Chansley and his lawyer Al Watkins, questioning whether the attorney was deceitful in arranging an interview with CBS 60 Minutes without proper authorization.
The lawyer told the jail was told it was an ‘attorney-client interview video,’ but did not tell them it was actually for a 60 Minutes interview.
‘The issue is that when the defense counsel is able to speak with his client, he squanders the opportunity for private conversations, preferring instead to conduct a public interview,’ the judge wrote.
A judge said Chansley’s willingness to resort to violence & refusal to follow orders during the siege signaled he wouldn’t follow court-ordered conditions of release
Chansley is currently in a Virginia prison, awaiting next steps in his legal case
‘Such media appearances are undoubtedly conducive to defense counsel’s fame, but they are not at all conducive to an argument that the only way defense counsel could privately communicate with his client is if defendant were temporarily released.
‘Given defense counsel’s decision to use what could have been a confidential videoconference on a media publicity stunt, that argument is so frivolous as to insult the court’s intelligence,’ Judge Lamberth continued.
‘For these reasons, the court finds the defendant has not met his burden of establishing a ‘compelling reason’ necessitating his temporary release.’
Chansley’s lawyer contested the judges findings.
‘There’s no subterfuge here, at all. … I did not under any circumstances try to conduct subterfuge to this court, certainly, and not to the facility where my client is currently housed,’ Watkins said. ‘It’s just not my style.’
Jake Chansley is pictured alongside fellow demonstrators who breached security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification
The judge also made clear that he was not impressed Chansley took part in a CBS 60 Minutes interview without ‘proper authorization’, pictured above
The judge also wrote that Chansley carried a spear into the siege, used a bullhorn to encourage other rioters, profanely referred to then-Vice President Mike Pence as a traitor while in the Senate and wrote a note to Pence saying, ‘It´s only a matter of time, justice is coming.’
Chansley, who disputed the note was intended to be threatening, also made a social media posting in November in which he promoted hangings for traitors.
‘Reading that note in the context of defendant´s earlier promotion of the execution of `traitors´ invalidates the notion that defendant breached the Capitol merely to leave peaceful, political commentary on the Senate dais,’ Lamberth wrote.
The judge sided with prosecutors who argued that the 6-inch spear mounted atop the flagpole carried by Chansley into the Capitol was a dangerous weapon. His attorney had characterized the spear as an ornament.
Chansley – who was pictured in the Capitol on January 6 sporting a horned headdress, face-paint and a Star-Spangled spear – argued that he actually helped curb the chaos, not exacerbate it
Chansley´s attorney also said his client was in the third wave of rioters who went into the Capitol. But the judge said video shows Chansley, who entered through Capitol through a doorway as rioters smashed nearby windows, ‘quite literally spearheaded’ the rush into the building.
He has been jailed since his arrest in the days after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol as Congress was certifying Democrat Joe Biden´s victory over then-President Donald Trump.
Chansley, who calls himself the QAnon Shaman, unsuccessfully sought a pardon from Trump. He has since expressed disappointment in Trump, though he also said he doesn´t regret being loyal to the former president.
A prosecutor said Chansley claims to be sorry for his actions during the riot, yet he still believes the election wasn´t legitimate.
Chansley´s attorney said his client didn´t act violently inside the Capitol and disputed that Chansley was any sort of leader in the riot.
In the motion, Watkins points blame at Trump for the conspiratorial fever that has swept the United States.
‘For years during the Trump administration, the President honed and routinely utilized his mass communication means to effectively groom millions of Americans with respect to his policies, protocols, beliefs and overwhelming fixation on all matters conspiratorial,’ the motion states, according to Newsweek.
‘Months before the 2020 Presidential election, former President Trump heightened his public propaganda such as to alarm, alert, and amass his supporters and cause them to be concerned about an inevitable voter fraud being perpetrated upon the United States of America and, in turn, theft of our nation, loss of our democracy, and the seating of a falsely/fraudulently elected individual other than former President Trump.’
Video in Chansley’s indictment showed him standing at Vice President Mike Pence’s chair in the Senate and pumping his fists in the air
On February 8, Chansley issued an apology and said he was ‘deeply disappointed in former President Trump,’ despite seeking a pardon from the outgoing president just weeks earlier.
A previous court filing obtained by Law & Crime suggest the lack of a pardon is when Chansley turned on Trump.
‘After the defendant noted former president Trump’s pardoning of his friends and colleagues and Lil Wayne, the defendant was compelled to reconcile his prior faith in Trump,’ the filing reads.
‘Well, I sang a song. That’s a part of shamanism. It’s about creating positive vibrations in a sacred chamber,’ Chansley said in the 60 Minutes interview
The filing was part of a bail motion, which outlined Chansley’s lack of criminal history and revealed he tried to testify at Trump’s impeachment trial twice.
Ultimately, no witnesses were called in Trump’s trial, where he was acquitted largely along party lines.
Chansley has been in jail for nearly two months and has expressed regret for entering the Capitol.
Chansley has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of civil disorder and obstructing an official proceeding, plus four other misdemeanor charges.
He has feuded with the jail system about serving him organic food as part of his belief in Shamanism.
The jail was eventually forced to meet his organic food needs, but he was moved to another prison in Virginia after they were unable to continue doing so.
The latest filing said Chansley was ‘grateful’ for the organic food, but ‘the Defendant has experienced significant digestive tract issues for which medical consultation has been sought,’ an argument for his release.
Another argument that made for Chansley’s release is that ‘faith precludes him’ from receiving the coronavirus vaccine, giving him both a medical and religious reason to be freed, despite not having an underlying condition that could make COVID-19 more dangerous.
Chansley (in a courtroom sketch) had been arguing for his release on religious and medical grounds
Chansley’s developing legal case comes as Acting Deputy Attorney General John Carlin announced Friday that over 300 people have been charged in the riot at the Capitol.
More than 280 people have been arrested in connection with the insurrection, which Carlin said was the brunt of his first briefing as Acting Deputy Attorney.
‘We must return to an America where no one fears violence for who they are or what they believe,’ Carlin said on Friday, according to ABC7Chicago.
Chansley has said he is ‘deeply disappointed in former President Trump,’ despite seeking a pardon from the outgoing president just weeks earlier.