QAnon Shaman likens himself to Jesus and Gandhi in rambling sentencing speech

Chansley said what he did was “indefensible” but said he was not a “dangerous criminal”

Graig Graziosi
Wednesday 17 November 2021 17:21
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'QAnon Shaman' to be sentenced Nov. 17 for Capitol riot involvement

Jacob Chansley, better known as the "QAnon Shaman," spoke at his sentencing trial, giving a rambling speech about accountability and likening his situation to those faced by Jesus and Gandhi.

Chansley was charged for participating in the Capitol riot. He was famously photographed shirtless and wearing a horned fur helmet during the attack.

He was jailed on Wednesday for 41 months.

During his speech, he admitted that he was wrong for entering the Capitol, calling it "indefensible," but maintained he was not a "dangerous criminal," an "insurrectionist," or a "domestic terrorist." He also distanced himself from the other people he was incarcerated with, who he claims treated jail like a Holiday Inn. Chansley claimed he was "repentant" and moving away from his "sins."

The opening of Chansley's speech was somewhat rambling, citing Jesus, Mahatma Gandhi and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as sources of inspiration during his time in prison. He later claimed that Gandhi beat his wife before his spiritual awakening and pointed out that Jesus overturned the money-changers tables outside the Temple in Jerusalem, suggesting that - like them - he could go on to do good after doing something bad.

He asked the judge to “judge the tree by its roots.”

Chansley said the hardest part for him has been realizing that he is the only one to blame for his predicament. He said his imprisonment was like a “near death experience” every day because he wanted to continue living, “but not like that.” He spent several minutes explaining his disdain for being imprisoned, even quoting The Shawshank Redemption, saying “hope is a dangerous thing.”

As the speech winded from topic to topic, Chansley revealed that his outfit during the riot was intended to ward off “evil spirits,” not to scare people. He said he believed that he will feel all of the good and the bad that he has caused people when he dies, and is upset that his image has been used in the media to stir up fear over the Capitol riot. He said that belief in a sort of karmic justice at the end of one’s life inspired him to begin working with children.

The defendant frequently referenced the judge’s military past - Chansley was a US sailor - and lavished the judicial official with compliments and praise as he made his case, promising that he would “never reoffend, ever again.”

The judge said Chansley’s remarks were the most “remarkable” he’d heard in 34 years as a federal judge, even comparing it to speeches made by Martin Luther King, Jr.

However, he said Chansley’s actions were still “horrific” although he recommended the minimum possible sentencing. He said he believed Chansley was sincere that he has changed and repented, but said what he did was “terrible” and that he tried to disrupt the operations of the government, so he could not dismiss the charges completely.

Chansley was sentenced to 41 months in prison, with 36 months supervised release and $100 in restitution. The time Chansley has already served will be credited to his overall sentence. Albert Watkins, Chansley’s defense attorney, has requested that his client be housed in or near Phoenix, Arizona, so that he can be close to his family.

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