Chansley's lawyer says he was a "peaceful and compliant" protester and deserves a pardon.
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Jacob Anthony Chansley, better known as the horned and face-painted “QAnon Shaman,” has asked President Donald Trump for a pardon after being charged with crimes related to the Capitol siege.
Chansley’s lawyer Al Watkins said that his client was simply following the directives and will of the president, and was a “peaceful and compliant” protester, so should therefore be pardoned.
The 33-year-old faces charges including disorderly conduct, violent entry, and illegally being on restricted spaces within the Capitol grounds.
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The “QAnon Shaman” is requesting a presidential pardon from Trump for charges stemming from the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, claiming he “accepted the president’s invitation” to march to the Capitol “with good intentions.”
The shaman, who also goes by Jake Angeli but whose real name is Jacob Anthony Chansley, gained attention for his outlandish costume during the insurrection, which included fur, horns, and copious face pant. He turned himself in to authorities in Phoenix, Arizona, over the weekend and was charged with disorderly conduct, violent entry, and illegally being on restricted spaces within the Capitol grounds.
Jacob Chansley’s attorney Albert Watkins released a statement on Thursday arguing that his client should be pardoned, along with all other “peaceful and compliant” Capitol protesters.
“My client had heard the oft-repeated words of President Trump,” Watkins said in a press release. “The words and invitation of a president are supposed to mean something. Given the peaceful and compliant fashion in which Mr. Chansley comported himself, it would be appropriate and honorable for the president to pardon Mr. Chansley and other like-minded, peaceful individuals who accepted the president’s invitation with honorable intentions.”
In giving reasons why Chansley should be free, Watkins said: "He has zero criminal history. He is a lover of nature, routinely practices meditation, is an active practicer of yoga, and eats only organic food."
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
Watkins went on to claim that Chansley simply thought he was honoring the wishes of the president.
“Mr. Chansley is an American; he served honorably in the US military,” Watkins continued. “He has zero criminal history. He is a lover of nature, routinely practices meditation, is an active practicer of yoga, and eats only organic food. He took seriously the countless messages of President Trump. He believed in President Trump. Like tens of millions of other Americans, Chansley felt-for the first time in his life-as though his voice was being heard.”
The White House has not responded to Business Insider’s request for comment.
In the immediate aftermath of the riots, Chansley told NBC News that he felt he had done nothing wrong.
“I walked through an open door, dude,” Angeli said last Thursday.
But federal officials say that’s not the full story. According to a memo written by the Justice Department and seen by Reuters, the FBI believes Chansley left a note for Pence in his office warning “it’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”
“Strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government,” prosecutors wrote in the filing.
Since his arrest, Chansley has managed to keep himself in the public eye by demanding that he receive organic foods while in jail. His mother, Martha Chansley, told reporters outside the courthouse where her son was being arraigned that he “gets very sick if he doesn’t eat organic food.”
Martha Chansley said she didn’t believe her son did anything wrong and called him a “patriot,” according to KVOA.
David Gonzales, US Marshal for the District of Arizona who was responsible for arresting Chansley, told the Arizona Republic the 33-year-old could face “years and years” if found guilty.
The Capitol riot left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer.
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