QAnon Shaman ‘too dangerous’ to be released from jail as defence ruled ‘so frivolous as to insult court’s intelligence’

Jacob Chansley not sincerely remorseful and seeking to blame others for Capitol riot, rules federal judge

Joe Sommerlad@JoeSommerlad
Tuesday 09 March 2021 13:48
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Related video: The shocking footage of the Capitol riot presented at Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial

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Jacob Chansley, the self-proclaimed “QAnon Shaman” AKA Jake Angeli, has been denied a release from prison ahead of his trial over his part in the 6 January Capitol riot protesting Donald Trump’s election defeat.

Mr Chansely, 33, a believer in the QAnon conspiracy cult, became the face of the pro-Trump mob that stormed the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC, thanks to his distinctive Native American war bonnet, American flag face paint and six-foot spear.

Mr Chansely was swiftly arrested on 9 January on federal charges of “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds”.

But in court documents seen by CNN, federal judge Royce Lamberth argued that Mr Chansley’s subsequent statements in the wake of the riot attacking the former president and saying he was “not honourable” indicated that the defendant was seeking to blame others for his actions and was not sincerely remorseful about the attempted insurrection, which left five people dead.

“The court finds that no condition or combination of conditions of release will reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance as required or the safety of others and the community,” Judge Lamberth ruled in a 32-page opinion.

“The defendant characterises himself as a peaceful person who was welcomed into the Capitol Building on January 6th by police officers. The court finds none of his many attempts to manipulate the evidence and minimise the seriousness of his actions persuasive.

“The statements the defendant has made to the public from jail show that the defendant does not fully appreciate the severity of the allegations against him. To the contrary, he believes that he - not the American people or members of Congress - was the victim on January 6th.”

The judge rebuked Mr Chansely and his lawyer, Albert Watkins, for their press campaign protesting his innocence, in particular an appearance on 60 Minutes on CBS in which the defendant claimed: “I was peaceful. I was civil. I was calm. I said a prayer and I sang a song.”

“Such media appearances are undoubtedly conducive to defence counsel’s fame,” Judge Lamberth wrote.

“But they are not at all conducive to an argument that the only way defence counsel could privately communicate with his client is if the defendant were temporarily released.

“Given the defence counsel’s decision to use what could have been a confidential videoconference as a media publicity stunt, that argument is so frivolous as to insult the court’s intelligence.”

He also shut down Mr Watkins’s attempt to argue that Mr Chansley had actually been carrying a flagpole and not a spear into the Capitol Building.

“A six-foot pole with a metal spearhead fixed to the top is, undoubtedly, a dangerous weapon,” the judge said of the prop.

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