“QAnon Shaman” felt the full wrath of US law as he faced a prison sentence for his participation in the Capitol attacks. He attracted a lot of attention after storming the Senate chamber on January 6 while exhibiting rebellious behaviour against the American government.
Jacob Chansley (34) is expected to be imprisoned as a 41-months jail sentence was handed to him on Wednesday. The Arizona man from Phoenix did not have any comprehensive defence for his actions and pleaded guilty to allegations laid against him. In an earlier court session held in September, Chansely admitted to “one felony count of obstruction” since he was part of rioters pursuing to block the counting of the 2020 Electoral College vote.
US District Judge Royce Lamberth found him guilty at a session held in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. He was also given three years probation when he was released from prison [Source]. Judge Lamberth noted that he had seen Chansely as being “genuinely in his remorse”, but he had to consider the severity of the crime he committed. The judge told him that “What you did here was horrific, as you can now see.”
Images posted online show Chansley entering the halls of Congress while shirtless and carrying the American flag. He then sat on the Senate’s president’s chair, and this was used as a symbol that represented all the other rioters who were acting their government. His actions were used as an epitome of true revolting propagated by those supporting him, and he was applauded for his bravery to mock the judicial system.
Evidence presented in court was based on “multiple videos and pictures which showed the defendant inside and outside the Capitol building, yelling at officers and leading a mob down the halls of the Capitol. He made his way into the Senate Chamber, where he wrote, ‘It’s Only A Matter of Time. Justice Is Coming,’ on paper covering the desk where Vice President Mike Pence had been presiding over the Senate just minutes before” [Source].
Prosecutors emphasized his profanity-laced videos and the message he posed to the American people, especially government officials. “Those words hit differently, knowing he is not across the country. [Chansley] is feet away from the object of his contempt, his hatred … This note is a threat,” as argued by Assistant US Attorney Kimberly Paschall. She went on to label him as the “flagbearer of the January 6 Capitol riot.
She hammered a nail deep into the Arizona man’s case by requesting judge Lamberth to use Chansley’s sentence as a deterrent measure to anyone wishing to revolt in such a manner, and the sentence would also send a message to other rioters. She said, “Don’t think the justice system will sit idly by when you attempt to end that peaceful transfer of power”.
Federal prosecutors are going after all those who participated in those demonstrations and threatened the peace in the US. Due to the magnitude of this incident, Chansley was facing a 20-year sentence, but prosecutors went for a lighter sentence of 51 months. But this was still recorded as the longest sought sentence amid an investigation of these destructive riots since January.
He expressed his apologies by saying he “would do everything differently”. “I was wrong for entering the Capitol. I have no excuse. The behaviour is indefensible,” noted the defendant. He pleaded with the judge to “sentence him to a time-served prison penalty, meaning he would get full credit for the time he has already spent behind bars”. Since his arrest, he has been behind bars in Washington DC and Virginia, so he has seen that life in a cage is not for him. During this time, he denied association with the QAnon theory and refused to be linked with Trump. Due to these stances, his attorney Albert Walkins described him as a “new man”. Walkins said, “There is no question his views have evolved”.
“I am in no way, shape or form a criminal. I am not a violent man. I am not an insurrectionist. I am certainly not a domestic terrorist. I am nothing like these criminals that I have been incarcerated with,” said Chansley in his defence.
His attorney Walkins echoed the same sentiments, who asked the judge to treat his client as a sick person. He alluded to his condition of mental instability that got him discharged from the Navy in 2007. According to Walkins, his client had not received any proper treatment after being diagnosed in 2006 and said, “This isn’t a case about Trump. This is about culpability”.
However, some claim that Chansley’s actions demonstrate a sober-minded individual defending his views, so he must atone for his misdeeds and show even more remorse to earn forgiveness.