Federal Judge Royce Lamberth ruled this week that Capitol rioter Jacob Chansley — otherwise known as the “QAnon Shaman” — will continue to be held in jail ahead of his sentencing on a federal felony charge. Chansley is well-known in part because of the distinctive attire that he wore while participating in the riot. At the time, he was shirtless, wearing face paint, and had on a large horned headdress. Chansley was also among the first few dozen rioters to enter the Capitol building, and while on the premises, he utilized a bullhorn to “rile up the crowd and demand that lawmakers be brought out,” as his plea agreement explains it.
Obviously, should legislative leaders have actually been “brought out,” further violence targeting them could have been expected to ensue. The violent intentions of those at the Capitol that day were clear. As for Chansley’s continued jailing, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that the defendant’s lawyer Albert Watkins had “failed to show how anyone would prevent Chansley from fleeing the area” where he’d have been released, according to the judge’s apparent estimation. Lamberth also concluded that the release provisions that had been proposed, which included mental health treatment for Chansley, did “not mitigate the possibility that Chansley’s supporters would provide him money to flee,” the Post-Dispatch adds.
The charge to which Chansley recently pleaded guilty was obstruction of an official proceeding, which ordinarily can come with a prison sentence of up to 20 years, although plea deals — apparently including the one to which Chansley agreed — have repeatedly provided for shorter sentences. At his upcoming sentencing hearing, “prosecutors estimate that Chansley will face 41-51 months in prison under sentencing guidelines,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains. Chansley’s sentencing is set for November 17, meaning that as of now, he has over two more months behind bars to wait. Watkins is planning to argue for probation for his client.
Chansley is one of dozens of Capitol rioters who’ve opted to plead guilty to charges against them, although overall, hundreds and hundreds of defendants have been charged — meaning that in most cases, jury trials remain on the horizon. Recently, the lawyer for one rioter (Thomas Caldwell) argued in favor of moving his client’s upcoming jury trial out of D.C, because he claimed that local residents “despise many things that traditional America stands for” — which is obviously ridiculous. Federal Judge Amit Mehta, who was handling the proceedings, said that a filing to that effect from the lawyer “reads less like a legal brief than something you might read on a blog,” which Mehta called “not acceptable.”