QAnon Shaman’s bizarre new legal defence: Trump was his ‘first love’

‘The first love always, always maintains a tender and soft spot in the heart of the lover’

Bevan Hurley
In New York
Monday 06 September 2021 17:14
QAnon Shaman ‘wounded’ at Trump not helping his case
Leer en Español

The lawyer for Jacob “QAnon Shaman” Chansley says his client felt an attraction to former President Donald Trump akin to that of a first love.

Al Watkins made the bizarre claim at a news conference after Mr Chansley pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday to obstruction of justice for his role in the January 6 insurrection.

“He had a fondness for Trump that was not unlike the first love a man may have for a girl, or a girl for a man, or man for a man,” Mr Watkins said.

“The first love always, always maintains a tender and soft spot in the heart of the lover.”

With his bellowing voice, viking-like horns, fur headdress and tattooed, shirtless frame, Chansley became the best-known of the thousands of insurrectionists who stormed the US Capitol to protest the results of the 2020 Presidential election.

Since his arrest shortly after the riots, he has been held without bail.

Mr Watkins also argued that Chansley has experienced mental health problems and had been “seduced” by Mr Trump.

“Today Jake made a monumental step toward doing right by our nation,” Mr Watkins said at Friday’s news conference.

Al Watkins, the attorney for Capitol rioter Jacob Chansley, says his client was blinded by his love for Mr Trump

Speaking about the “lovers” statement on CNN, anchor Jim Acosta asked: “We can’t blame all of this on love, can we? What a bizarre comment.”

“This is sad that people who believed in Donald Trump are now going to pay a very personal cost, as they should,” former Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock replied.

“These were criminal actions on January 6th.”

Through his lawyer, Chansley has tried to distance himself from the QAnon conspiracy theory, whose followers believe that Mr Trump has been sent to stop a cabal of Democratic and celebrity paedophiles and cannibals.

Before last week’s guilty plea Mr Watkins claimed his client had “repudiated” the Q movement. He has asked that he no longer be referred to as the QAnon Shaman.

Federal prosecutors are expected to seek a prison term of between 44 months and the maximum five years when Chansley is sentenced.

Mr Watkins has suggested he would argue his client should be freed on time served.

“In his heart and in his mind he was helping the president save the country,” Mr Watkins said.

“Jacob Chansley did not have a plan... he was half naked, tattooed, on a winter day in DC. Granted, he had the best costume of the day, he had the best look.”

Psychological tests conducted while he has been in prison have shown Chansley suffers from transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.

He was deemed mentally competent to face the charges in court.