Jacob Anthony Chansley, 33, has reached a plea deal with prosecutors
Jacob Anthony Chansley, 33, is due to appear through videolink in federal court in Washington, DC at 11am on Friday for a plea agreement hearing, according to court documents.
The terms of the plea deal were not immediately available. Chansley, who was arrested in January at his home in Phoenix, faced six charges in the case and a potential sentence of up to 28 years.
Chansley, who became the face of the Capitol riot due to his outlandish garb, had been a public supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory that casts Donald Trump as a savior figure and elite Democrats as a cabal of Satanist pedophiles and cannibals.
In a statement to DailyMail.com on Thursday, Chansley’s attorney Albert Watkins insisted that his client now rejects the QAnon theory and pleaded that the word be dropped from his infamous moniker.
‘Mr. Chansley, a long avowed and practicing Shaman, has repudiated the ‘Q’ previously assigned to him and requests future references to him be devoid of use of the letter ‘Q’,’ said Watkins.
Watkins confirmed that there is a plea agreement in place but declined to reveal any details of the deal. He insisted that his client is non-violent and struggles with mental health issues, and asked for ‘patience and compassion’
Chansley, who became the face of the Capitol riot due to his outlandish garb, now rejects the QAnon conspiracy theory, according to his attorney
Chansley faced years in prison if found guilty, and has now reached a plea deal with prosecutors. He is due to appear in court for a plea agreement hearing on Friday
Chansley’s attorney Albert Watkins (above) confirmed that there is a plea agreement in place but declined to reveal any details of the deal. He insisted that his client is non-violent and struggles with mental health issues, and asked for ‘patience and compassion’
‘The path charted by Mr. Chansley since January 6 has been a process, one which has involved pain, depression, solitary confinement, introspection, recognition of mental health vulnerabilities, and a coming to grips with the need for more self-work,’ said Watkins.
‘It is imperative that patience and compassion be accorded those, who like Mr. Chansley, were non-violent, peaceful and possessed of genuine mental health issues which rendered them more vulnerable to the propaganda of the day but who, at the end of day, seek to be accountable for their actions,’ added the attorney, who is based in St. Louis.
Watkins said in July that Chansley was considering a plea deal after officials at the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) diagnosed him with transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.
Watkins said his client has expressed some delusions including ‘believing that he was indeed related directly to Jesus and Buddha.’
Watkins says the BOP’s findings, which have not yet been made public, suggest Chansley’s mental condition has deteriorated due to the stress of being held in solitary confinement at a jail in Alexandria, Virginia.
‘As he spent more time in solitary confinement… the decline in his acuity was noticeable, even to an untrained eye,’ Watkins stated.
‘What we’ve done is we’ve taken a guy who is unarmed, harmless, peaceful… with a pre-existing mental vulnerability of significance, and we’ve rendered him a chocolate soup mess,’ Watkins said.
Chansley shot to worldwide infamy when he stormed the Capitol sporting face-paint, a fur hat and holding a Star-Spangled spear
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
The BOP in 2017 was faulted by the Justice Department’s inspector general for its use of special housing units to confine inmates with mental illness, and the BOP agreed to place limits on the amount of time inmates remain in restrictive housing and to ensure they have meaningful human contact.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic led the BOP to step up its use of solitary housing units as a way to quarantine inmates to contain the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile Watkins says Chansley’s 2006 mental health records from his time in the U.S. Navy show a similar diagnosis to the BOP’s.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment on the case.
Meanwhile, Watkins did not say what specific charges Chansley was considering pleading guilty to, but defendants negotiating plea deals typically seek to plead to a less serious charge to reduce their potential prison sentences.
Watkins said authorities will need to determine how Chansley can get access to the treatment he needs to ‘actively participate in his own defense.’ Pleading guilty to a charge negates the need for a trial, but defendants still have to be declared mentally competent to do so.
Watkins said the BOP’s evaluation of his client did not declare Chansley to be mentally incompetent, and he does not expect Chansley to be ordered to undergo what is known as competency restoration treatment.
A colorful and outspoken attorney, Watkins previously released a video that he says shows his client preventing a rioter from stealing a muffin from the U.S. Capitol on January 6, as well as a bizarre high school essay in which he describes his goals as a spiritual ‘master’.
Attached as an exhibit to a defense motion is an essay that Chansley wrote in high school, declaring his career choice was to be ‘a Christ, a Buddha, or a Muhammad’
Watkins’ defense motion contains a link to a YouTube video titled ‘Jake Stops Muffin Stealing,’ which appears to show Chansley clad in his distinctive fur-and-horns headgear yelling ‘Hey, hey hey!’ at a rioter entering a break room in the Capitol.
The court documents describe the video as showing Chansley ‘thwarting a crime (theft) by yelling at another person in the Capitol who was attempting to steal a “muffin” from a breakroom in the Capitol.’
‘It demonstrates and reinforces my client’s long-standing status as a peaceful, non-violent person who sought to thwart a theft and support the need for those in the Capitol to be respectful of law enforcement,’ Watkins said of the new video in a statement to DailyMail.com.
Chansley and his bulldog attorney Watkins have previously referenced the muffin theft intervention in interviews, but the new video is the first footage of the incident to emerge publicly.
‘I also stopped people from stealing and vandalizing that sacred space, the Senate. Okay? I actually stopped somebody from stealing muffins out of the break room,’ Chansley told 60 Minutes from behind bars in March.
‘And I also said a prayer in that sacred chamber. Because it was my intention to bring divinity, and to bring God back into the Senate.’