Jacob Chansley – the Arizona man who earned the moniker “QAnon Shaman” after entering the U.S. Senate Chamber wearing a horned fur hat and wielding a spear on January 6 – pleaded guilty Friday to one count of obstruction of an official proceeding.
Chansley appeared before Judge Royce C. Lamberth Friday morning to enter a guilty plea on the single felony count. Chansley was under indictment on six counts in connection with the riot, including civil disorder, entering a restricted building, and obstruction of an official proceeding – a felony charge with a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
The plea deal Chansley and his attorney, Albert Watkins, reached with the government significantly lessens his potential prison time to an estimated range of 41-51 months. Chansley will also receive credit for the eight months he has already served since his arrest.
Chansley has been held in federal custody since his arrested just three days after the riot. His detention has been marked by requests for organic foods to accommodate his shamanic diet and, ultimately, transfer to a federal facility in Colorado for the competency evaluation.
Watkins said Chansley’s time in Colorado, and away from the strict COVID-19 protocols in the D.C. Jail, allowed him to “regain his acuity.” He asked Lamberth on Friday to release Chansley while he awaits sentencing so he can continue to receive psychiatric care.
“He was not a planner. He was not violent. And he has been cooperative at all times,” Watkins said. “The events of January 6 will always remain, but the real truth of January 6 will be how our justice system employed patience and compassion for those with mental health vulnerabilities.
Although Chansley has come to be publicly associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory, in a statement his attorney says Chansley has “repudiated” those beliefs.
“Mr. Chansley, a long avowed and practicing Shaman, has repudiated the ‘Q’ previously assigned to him and requests future references to him be devoid of use of the letter ‘Q’,” Watkins wrote.
Chansley is set to be sentenced in November.