Jacob Chansley, the would-be insurrectionist best known as the “QAnon Shaman,” has been sentenced to 41 months in prison for his role in the January 6th Capitol riot.
Chansley garnered a lot of attention for the furry, horned headdress and face paint he wore during the riot. He has since insisted that his presence was “peaceful,” despite the fact that he carried a six-foot spear and, according to court documents, repeatedly, aggressively ignored the instructions of Capitol police. He also left a menacing note on the Senate desk of Mike Pence, which read, “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”
That doesn’t sound entirely peaceful.
Chansley also tried to argue in court that he believed he was only in Washington D.C. under the explicit invitation of Donald Trump, based solely on Trump’s tweets and his constant verbal attacks on Pence and lawmakers. Trump was constantly declaring that people like Chansley needed to “fight” to keep Democrats from “stealing” the election and Chansley said he was just following the then-president’s orders.
None of it worked. Judge Royce Lamberth said at the sentencing that Chansley “made himself the image of the riot.”
“For good or bad, he made himself the very image of this whole event,” Lamberth said. Since his arrest, Chansley has been held in jail and the judge repeatedly denied requests for leniency and release.
At his sentencing, Chansley leaned hard into claiming responsibility, perhaps thinking repentance would earn him a lighter punishment. That also didn’t work.
“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 admitted that the punishment he’s faced is due to his own decision to break the law. “I should do what Gandhi would do and take responsibility,” he said. “There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it, that’s what men of honor do.”
Lamberth told Chansley that his “remarks are the most remarkable I’ve heard in 34 years,” and called his speech “akin to the kind of thing Martin Luther King would have said.”
But in the end, Lamberth said he agreed with Chansley, telling him, “what you did here was as horrific as you now concede.” So he could not offer him a shorter sentence.
Chansley’s sentence matches that of another convicted rioter, Scott Fairlamb, who assaulted a police officer during the attack. His 41-month sentence was the longest any of the rioters had received when it was handed down last week, and it’s likely to continue to be used as a benchmark as more of these cases move forward.
(via CNN, image: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
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