Prosecutors recommend 51-month sentence for Capitol rioter known as ‘QAnon Shaman’

Federal prosecutors are recommending a years-long sentence for Jacob Chansley, the horns-wearing “QAnon Shaman” seen shirtless in the Senate chamber during the Jan. 6 riot.

In a 28-page sentencing memo filed late Tuesday, prosecutors are seeking a 51-month prison sentence for Chansley, the harshest penalty sought thus far by the federal government in connection with the breach of the Capitol Building earlier this year, Politico reported.

Several images and photos from that day show Chansley on the Senate floor and rostrum, “where he scrawled a menacing note to Vice President Mike Pence,” which “became iconic in the aftermath” of the riot, Politico noted.

“Defendant Chansley’s now-famous criminal acts have made him the public face of the Capitol riot,” prosecutors said in their filing.

“The defendant was among the first 30 rioters to penetrate the U.S. Capitol building,” the filing further notes. “The defendant then stalked the hallowed halls of the building, riling up other members of the mob with his screaming obscenities about our nation’s lawmakers, and flouting the ‘opportunity’ to rid our government of those he has long considered to be traitors.”

Earlier reports noted that Chansley, 33, was facing 28 years behind bars, but in September cut a deal with the prosecution for a shorter sentence.

“Chansley stood out from the others who breached the Capitol because of his unusual attire, which included a horned headdress and painted face,” BizPac Review reported. “Also, he was a self-professed public supporter of the QAnon conspiracies which portray former President Donald Trump as America’s savior and elite Democrats as sadistic pedophiles.”

Chansley was not accused of destroying government property or assaulting law enforcement officers, but the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation “far outstrips prosecutor’s 18-month recommendation for Paul Hodgkins, the only felony defendant serving a prison sentence related to” the breach, Politico reported. Ultimately, a federal judge sentenced Hodgkins, who like Chansley breached the Senate chamber, to an eight-month stint behind bars.

In addition, prosecutors have recommended that former MMA fighter Scott Fairlamb, who pleaded guilty to assaulting an officer after leaving the Capitol, to 44 months in jail. He is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth on Wednesday, the same jurist who is overseeing Chansley’s case.

The recommendation for Chansley — four years and three months in prison — “is at the top of the sentencing guidelines range that court officials calculated in his case of 41 to 51 months,” Politico reported.

Albert Watkins, Chansley’s defense attorney, has not yet provided his sentencing recommendation to the court, but he has said that a sentence “significantly below” the guidelines is more appropriate. He went on to note that by the time Chansley is formally sentenced, he will have already served 10 months in detention.

But federal prosecutors have argued that Chansley merits a tougher sentence than either Fairlamb or Hodgkins because he spent months trying to spread disinformation about the 2020 election and he repeatedly refused to obey police commands when he entered the Capitol carrying a flagpole with a speartip.

“Chansley showed no remorse in the days after the event, gloating to NBC News that the actions of the rioters that day sent our nation’s lawmakers into hiding, with gas masks, retreating into their underground bunker,” the prosecutors wrote.

Missy Halsey


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