‘QAnon Shaman’ hires Rittenhouse lawyer for potential appeal

An appeal would target Jacob Chansley’s ‘ineffective counsel’ Albert Watkins, who called US Capitol riot suspects ‘people with brain damage’

Justin Vallejo
New York
Tuesday 23 November 2021 00:24
Mother of 'Qanon Shaman' reacts to sons Capitol Riot sentencing

The ex-lawyer for Kyle Rittenhouse has taken over the QAnon Shaman’s legal defence ahead of a possible appeal.

Jacob Anthony Angeli Chansley was sentenced to almost three and a half years in prison in the most severe sentence yet for the hundreds charged with storming the US Capitol on 6 January.

Attorney John Pierce entered a notice of appearance in federal court on Monday, according to Law & Crime. Mr Pierce previously represented Mr Rittenhouse to raise his $2m bond before the teenager changed his defence team.

In a press release, Mr Pierce and attorney William Shipley pointed to Chansley’s former defence attorney Albert Watkins as a potential reason for appeal.

“Mr Chansley will be pursuing all remedies available to him under the Constitution and federal statutory law with respect to the outcome of the criminal prosecution of him by the United States Department of Justice,” the press release said.

“This includes a possible direct appeal of his conviction and sentence to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, as well as claims of ‘Ineffective Assistance of Counsel’ in the appropriate venue.”

While representing Chansley, Mr Watkins called Capitol rioters "all f***ing short-bus people", "people with brain damage" and said that they are "f***ing retarded".

Chansley entered a deal to plead guilty to obstructing a congressional proceeding. As part of the deal, Chansley waived most of his rights for appeal "on any basis", except for the one that Mr Pierce pointed to in his press release.

The plea deal states: “Notwithstanding the above agreement to waive the right to appeal the conviction and sentence, your client retains the right to appeal on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel, but not to raise on appeal other issues regarding the conviction or sentence."

Mr Watkins, however, told The Independent’s in a statement that he “personally spoke” to Chansley after Mr Pierce’s entry of appearance in federal court, and that he remains the QAnon Shaman’s counsel of record.

Chansley “confirmed he did not personally authorize Mr Pierce to represent him”, said Mr Watkins, who added he would be “continuing representation of the man who has become universally known as ‘The Shaman’.”

“Watkins issued a letter to Mr Pierce confirming he had not received any contact from Mr Pierce and requesting the prompt withdrawal of his entry of appearance” Mr Watkins said.

Mr Pierce did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

While Mr Pierce helped raise the $2m bond for Mr Rittenhouse, he left the defence team in February with pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood.

The $2m bond was posted with a cashier’s check from the Pierce Bainbridge law firm from donations to the #FightBackFoundation, raised through donations including cash from MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and actor Ricky Schroder.

Under Wisconsin law, the bond will be returned to the person who posted the bond, Mr Bainbridge.

Mr Wood, the Trump-supporting, Maga-hat wearing lawyer who is facing potential disbarment over cases brought against the 2020 election, has demanded the money be returned to #FightBack.

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