Jacob Chansley, a 33-year-old conspiracy theorist who calls himself the “QAnon Shaman,” appeared before the judge on Wednesday to receive his sentence of 41 months in prison for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
One of the most hard-to-miss figures in video of the Washington D.C. insurrection, Jacob Chansley was one of the first rioters to enter the Capitol building, wearing red and blue face paint, a horned helmet, and carrying a large American flag tied to the end of a spear.
He pleaded guilty on Sep. 3, eight months after voluntarily turning himself into the FBI for his role in the attack. In video of the event, Jacob Chansley can be seen scribbling a note on Mike Pence’s desk that read “It’s Only A Matter of Time. Justice Is Coming!” after roaming the halls and screaming at security guards in his “QAnon Shaman” get-up.
Prosecutors last month asked for a sentence of 51 months, which would be a little over four years. Judge Royce Lamberth sentenced him to 41 months, which matched the same sentence given out to rioter and former mixed martial arts fighter Scott Fairlam. Fairlam assaulted a police officer during the attack.
“For good or bad, he made himself the very image of this whole event,” Lamberth told his defense team.
Though Chansley was not accused of assaulting any officers or security guards, nor damaging any property, his persona and demeanor made him a national symbol for the bizarre and dangerous antics of the right wing protestors on Jan. 6.
“The defendant was among the first 30 rioters to penetrate the U.S. Capitol building,” prosecutors explained. “The defendant then stalked the hallowed halls of the building, riling up other members of the mob with his screaming obscenities about our nation’s lawmakers, and flouting the ‘opportunity’ to rid our government of those he has long considered to be traitors.”
“The government cannot overstate the seriousness of the defendant’s conduct as one of the most prominent figures of the historic riot on the Capitol on January 6, 2021,” prosecutors continued. “His consistent rhetoric before and after the event, and his apparent ability to carry out his intentions of violently removing the ‘traitors’ in our government, is clear from the evidence in this case.”
In court in September, Jacob Chansley’s attorney, Albert Watkins, testified that he had given up the identity as the “QAnon Shaman” and has since rejected the conspiracy theory he once championed.
Watkins also argued that his client suffered from significant mental health “vulnerabilities,” and pleaded for a lesser sentence.
“This case is about a remarkable, gentle, kind, smart, spiritual, non-violent young man who has spent his life trying to overcome significant but secreted vulnerabilities, hardships, and societal neglect to self-educate,” Watkins said. “He is accountable for his actions, seeks to be held accountable, and wishes nothing short of the Court recognizing same.”
The courts have been particularly accommodating to the man, moving him from a prison in Virginia to one on Washington D.C. so that he could receive organic meals in accordance with his “shaman faith.”
“He seeks not to be seen as a political prisoner,” Watkins pleaded. “He seeks not to blame a former president for his actions. He seeks not to justify his actions with any explanation. He seeks solely to be held accountable.”
Jacob Chansley allegedly sought a pardon from former President Donald Trump but was unsuccessful.
According to his lawyer, he saw himself, “as a patriot, one who was admired for his self-taught discipline and sincere love for his country.”
In a 60 Minutes interview back in March, he said that he did not view his actions as an attack on government. “It was my intention to bring divinity,” he stated, “and to bring God back into the Senate.”