Jacob Anthony Chansley, 33, pleaded guilty to a federal felony on Friday
Jacob Anthony Chansley, 33, on Friday pleaded guilty to obstructing a federal proceeding. The other five counts against him were dropped and he faces sentencing on November 17.
Though the charge a maximum 20-year prison term, federal prosecutors plan to seek a penalty between 44 months and five years, while defense attorney Al Watkins hinted that he would argue that Chansley should be freed on time served.
At a press conference on Friday, Watkins reiterated his insistence that Chansley now disavows the QAnon conspiracy theory, and said his client want to take responsibility for his actions.
‘Today Jake made a monumental step toward doing right by our nation,’ said Watkins, who argued that Chansley has mental health vulnerabilities and was seduced by Donald Trump.
‘He had a fondness for Trump that was not unlike the first love a man may feel for a woman,’ said Watkins. ‘Trump was very much like his first love.’
Chansley, of Phoenix, Arizona, was photographed inside the Capitol shirtless on January 6, wearing a horned headdress and heavily tattooed. He has been held without bond since his arrest shortly after the riot.
Chansley shot to worldwide infamy when he stormed the Capitol sporting face-paint, a fur hat and holding a Star-Spangled spear
Chansley formerly vocally supported the QAnon conspiracy theory that casts Trump as a savior figure and elite Democrats as a cabal of Satanist pedophiles and cannibals
Chansley had been a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory that casts Trump as a savior figure and elite Democrats as a cabal of Satanist pedophiles and cannibals.
In an earlier statement, Watkins asserted that Chansley ‘has repudiated the `Q´ previously assigned to him and requests future references to him be devoid of use of the letter `Q´.’
Watkins said that Chansley had faced ‘a great deal of familial pressure not to take a plea’ from family members who embrace the dubious theory that Trump will resume the office of presidency imminently and issue him a pardon.
‘It was a really brave thing for him to do,’ Watkins said of Chansley agreeing to plead guilty.
Watkins insisted that Chansley did not have violent or malevolent intentions when he joined the mob that stormed the Capitol. Chansley himself was seen howling from the dias of the Senate president.
‘In his heart and in his mind he was helping the president save the country,’ said Watkins.
‘Jacob Chansley did not have a plan…he was half naked, tattooed, on a winter day in DC,’ the attorney said. ‘Granted, he had the best costume of the day, he had the best look.
Prosecutors said Chansley went into the Capitol carrying a US flag attached to a wooden pole topped with a spear, ignored an officer’s commands to leave, went into the Senate chamber and wrote a threatening note to then-Vice President Mike Pence
While in detention, Chansley underwent mental examinations and was diagnosed by prison officials with transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.
Before entering the plea, Chansley was found by a judge to be mentally competent.
His lawyer Watkins said the solitary confinement that Chansley faced for most of his time in jail has had an adverse effect on his mental health and that his time in Colorado helped him regain his sharpness.
‘I am very appreciative for the court’s willingness to have my mental vulnerabilities examined,’ Chansley said before pleading guilty to a charge of obstructing an official proceeding.
Chansley, who became the face of the Capitol riot due to his outlandish garb, now rejects the QAnon conspiracy theory, according to his attorney
Nearly 600 people have been arrested over the attack on the Capitol where Congress was meeting to certify Joe Biden’s November victory over Donald Trump. Earlier Trump had given a fiery speech falsely claiming his defeat was the result of fraud.
While the charge carries both a maximum 20-year prison term and a fine of up to $250,000, prosecutor Kimberly Paschall indicated the maximum sentence the government was likely to request would be much shorter.
In the months before Friday’s hearing, Senior U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth rejected multiple requests from Chansley for possible pre-trial release.
On Friday, Watkins asked the judge to allow Chansley to be released from prison pending a sentencing hearing, scheduled for November 17. The judge said he would consider this request.
In the meantime, Chansley remains in federal custody in Alexandria, Virginia.
Watkins noted that prosecutors had acknowledged Chansley was ‘not a planner or organizer’ of the riot.