The decade's most triggering comedy
A federal judge sentenced Jacob Chansley, known as the “QAnon shaman,” to 41 months in prison for his role in the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Chansley’s sentence is one of the steepest to be handed out for crimes related to the Capitol riot. His 41 months ties the lengthiest sentence yet passed down. Of the 16 people who have pleaded guilty to felonies in connection with the riot, only three others have been sentenced, earning prison terms of eight, 14, and 41 months for a man who punched a Capitol police officer, according to The Washington Post.
On January 6, Chansley stormed the Capitol shirtless while carrying a spear with an American flag tied to it. On his head, he wore a helmet that appeared to be covered in animal hide with horns coming out either side. He yelled obscenities from the Senate gallery before making his way down to the Senate floor and taking control of the dais, sitting in the chair former Vice President Mike Pence had vacated minutes before and calling Pence a “f***ing traitor.”
The recommended prison sentence for Chansley’s crime was 41 to 51 months. Prosecutors pushed for the maximum recommended sentence, emphasizing Chansley’s role as the “public face” of the riot.
“Armed with a 6-foot-long spear, the defendant brazenly marched past dozens of law enforcement officers…riling up other members of the mob with his screaming obscenities about our nation’s lawmakers,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo, according to The Wall Street Journal. Chansley’s “now-famous criminal acts have made him the public face of the Capitol riot,” the added.
Chansley’s defense attorneys pushed for a sentence of time served, roughly the 10 months since riot at the Capitol. The defense team argued that Chansley’s punishment had been long enough, claiming that their client had mental health issues.
“Mr. Chansley was half nude for the entire morning and early afternoon of a wintry Jan. 6, when the temperature was in the 30s and low 40s in Washington, D.C.,” Chansley’s defense attorney wrote in a court filing, claiming Chansley’s conduct was one “obvious” indicator of “mental-health vulnerabilities.”
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth gave Chansley the minimum recommended sentence, however, after the judge was swayed by Chansley’s half-hour apology in court for his actions.
“I was wrong for entering the Capitol, I have no excuse whatsoever,” Chansley said in a half-hour speech. “I am in no way or shape a dangerous criminal. I am a good man who broke the law.”
Afterward, the judge remarked that Chansley’s comments were some of “the most remarkable remarks I have heard in 34 years” of service on the federal bench. The judge said he could not go any lower than the recommended sentence, though, because “what you did here is horrific, as you now concede.”
Chansley was able to “[convince] the court that you are a new person and I think you are on the right track,” Lamberth added.