QAnon Shaman’s lawyer claims shirtlessness during Capitol riot is evidence of ‘mental vulnerabilities’

The 33-year-old Arizona native currently faces six federal charges including violent entry and disorderly conduct

Maroosha Muzaffar
Friday 28 May 2021 11:27 BST
'QAnon Shaman' appears to confirm crowd was awaiting Trump's orders

A lawyer for the fur-wearing Capitol riots suspect known as the “QAnon Shaman” has said that his shirtlessness during the 6 January insurrection is evidence of his “mental vulnerabilities.”

In a new pretrial release motion, Jacob Chansley’s lawyer Albert Watkins said that his client’s mental health has nose-dived in the past five months as he continues to be held on charges relating to his alleged role in storming the Capitol Building.

In the court documents, Mr Watkins writes that: “The acuity of the vulnerable defendant has waned with each passing day of solitary confinement,” reported Business Insider. “The effects of the same, like ivy, have slept, crept, and now leapt.”

Mr Chansley has been in solitary confinement since early January when he was arrested after surrendering to police. His lawyer had asked the court last week to release him given the state of his mental health. The court had ordered Mr Chansley to undergo a mental evaluation.

The so-called QAnon Shaman became one of the most photographed individuals during the 6 January riots, standing in the Capitol wearing a headdress and face paint. He was seen walking with a bullhorn and flagpole throughout the building.

In Mr Watkins’s 42-page motion submitted on Wednesday, he appeals for Mr Chansley’s pretrial release a second time. He argues that there is no evidence to suggest that his client was violent during the insurrection.

In an interview with 60 Minutes earlier this year, Mr Chansley had said that he had waved to protesters who had signalled to him that could enter the building and that his entrance was “acceptable.” The government, however, maintains that he was among the first wave of protesters to enter the Capitol building.

In March this year, Mr Chansley’s claims were called “blatant lies” by a federal judge and in fact later that month the court released two videos that appeared to disprove the 33-year-old Arizona native’s claims.

His first pretrial release request was denied earlier this year.

Mr Watkins also sparked widespread outrage after he called Mr Chansley and others charged in connection with the riot “people with brain damage” - a pejorative and problematic term for someone with a developmental disability and autism. He was quoted in the media as saying: “My long-standing pleas for compassion and understanding of those involved in the events of 6 January with mental health issues and disabilities have to date fallen on deaf ears.”

Mr Chansley has pleaded not guilty to a six charge indictment. If convicted, he could face up to 25 years in prison.

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