Jacob Chansley is sentenced to 41 months in prison for his role in Capitol riots
Chansley, 34, is known as ‘QAnon Shaman’ for his horned headdress, sentenced to 41 months in federal prison
Prosecutors asked to impose 51-month sentence on Chansley, while his defense lawyers asked the judge for a sentence of time served
Chansley pled guilty in September to obstructing an official proceeding
Similarly ex-MMA fighter Scott Fairlamb was sentenced last week to a term of 41 months in prison for punching a police officer during the riots
Over 650 suspects are facing trial over the Capitol riots
A federal judge on Wednesday imposed a 41-month sentence on the US Capitol rioter Jacob Chansley, who has gained national notoriety with his nickname, the ‘QAnon Shaman’, for his role in the deadly January 6 insurrection.
Chansley, 34, expressed remorse and spoke at length about his willingness to take responsibility for his actions – ‘like Ghandi’- during his sentencing hearing, earning from the presiding judge a surprising comparison to Martin Luther King Jr.
Prosecutors had asked US District Judge Royce Lamberth to impose a longer 51-month sentence on Jacob Chansley, who pled guilty in September to obstructing an official proceeding when he and thousands of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the building in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s election.
The sentence matches one imposed by a judge on a former mixed martial artist Scott Fairlamb, who was filmed punching a police officer during violence, who was sentenced last week to 41 months in prison.
Chansley is expected to receive credit for the roughly 10 months he has spent in jail, which would reduce his prison sentence to about 31 months.
Lamberth said he believed Chansley, who made a lengthy speech before he was sentenced, had done a lot to convince the court he is ‘on the right track.’
Chansley’s attorneys asked the judge for a sentence of time served for their client, who has been detained since his January arrest.
He appeared in court in a dark green prison jumpsuit, with a beard and shaved head.
‘He made himself the image of the riot, didn’t he?’ Lamberth said to Chansley’s lawyers.
‘For good or bad, he made himself the very image of this whole event.’
Prosecutor Kimberly Paschall played in court several video clips showing a bare-chested Chansley in his horned fur hat and face paint barging into the Capitol and yelling on the US Senate floor.
When given a chance to speak, Chansley launched into a wide-ranging speech, in which he talked about his feelings of guilt and remorse, CNN reports.
‘I admit to the world, I was wrong. I have no excuses. My behavior was indefensible,’ he said.
Chansley, however, insisted that he is not a violent man, a domestic terrorist or a ‘white supremacist.’
As part of his impassioned 30-minute-long tirade, Chansley quoted Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Jesus, and the prison break film The Shawshank Redemption.
‘The hardest part about this is to know that I’m to blame. To have to look in the mirror and know, you really messed up, royally,’ Chansley said.
He said he was wrong to break the law – a decision that landed him in solitary confinement.
‘I should do what Gandhi would do and take responsibility,’ Chansley added.
‘There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it, that’s what men of honor do.’ He promised to never have to be jailed again.
Lamberth was seemingly taken aback by the defendant’s remarks, which he said were ‘akin to the kind of thing Martin Luther King would have said.’
But the judge said what Chansley had done on January 6 was so ‘horrific’ that he could not go below the federal sentencing guidelines.
While in detention, Chansley was diagnosed by prison officials with transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety. When he entered his guilty plea, Chansley said he was disappointed Trump had not pardoned him.
The ex-president was impeached by the House of Representatives and acquitted by the Senate on a charge of inciting the January 6 riot for a fiery speech that preceded it in which he told his followers to ‘fight like hell.’
Four people died in the violence.
A Capitol Police officer who had been attacked by protesters died the day after the riot and four police officers who took part in the defense of the Capitol later took their own lives.
About 140 police officers were injured.
Defense lawyer Albert Watkins said the US Navy in 2006 had found Chansley suffered from personality disorder but nonetheless declared him ‘fit for duty.’
Last week, ex-MMA fighter Scott Fairlamb wept in court as he begged for mercy before being sentenced to 41 months in prison for punching an officer during the Capitol riots.
With ‘I truly regret my actions that day. I have nothing but remorse,’ he said, as he asked the judge for mercy.
A video from January 6 that was used in court showed Fairlamb, dressed in a camouflaged jacket, navy blue scarf and black beanie, yelling at an officer. When another cop approached Fairlamb from behind to seemingly get him to calm down, the former fighter shoved the man.
Fairlamb, 44, of New Jersey was also the first person sentenced for assaulting a law enforcement officer during the January 6 Capitol riot.
Judge Royce Lamberth’s decision was considered a ‘canary in the coal mine’ by prosecutors who said that Wednesday foreshadowed what more than 120 other defendants face for attacking police that day.
Then, when the officer swatted Fairlamb’s pointing finger out of his face Fairlamb hit him back even harder.
Fairlamb pled guilty to two counts – one for obstruction of an official proceeding and one for assaulting the police officer.
More than 650 people have been charged in connection with the riots.