Jacob Anthony Angeli Chansley, known as the QAnon Shaman, is seen at the Capital riots, January 6, 2021.
Brent Stirton | Getty Images
“QAnon shaman” Jacob Chansley pleaded guilty Friday to a single count of obstructing a proceeding of Congress, nearly eight months after gaining widespread notoriety for his bizarre appearance as he invaded the Capitol with a horde of other Trump supporters.
Chansley, who has been jailed without bond since his arrest in January, faces up to 20 years in prison for the charge, one of six counts he was originally indicted on in federal court in Washington, D.C.
But the 33-year-old Phoenix, Arizona, man is likely to receive a less severe punishment than that under federal guidelines when he is sentenced Nov. 17.
A prosecutor said that a rough calculation of those guidelines suggest a prison sentence of between 41 to 51 months in prison. Chansley would get credit toward that sentence for the time he was jailed since his arrest.
Judge Royce Lamberth accepted Chansley’s plea agreement with prosecutors after ruling he was mentally competent to understand the proceeding.
“You are in fact guilty of this offense?” Lamberth asked.
“Yes, your honor,” Chansley answered in a sober voice.
Chansley’s lawyer Albert Watkins, asking for his release pending sentencing, noted to the judge that his client “was not a planner” of the riot, “he was not violent.”
“I am hopeful the court will promote the growth and healing of Mr. Chansley,” Watkins said.
Lamberth said he would rule on the release request later.
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Chansley was shirtless, wielding a spear, wearing face paint and a fur hat with horns when he walked into the Capitol complex on Jan. 6 with thousands of other people, disrupting the ongoing confirmation by a joint session of Congress of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
Prosecutors charged that Chansley, who subscribed to the bogus QAnon conspiracy theory, ran into the Senate chamber and up to the dais where then-Vice President Mike Pence minutes before was presiding over proceedings.
He left a note on that dais warning “it’s only a matter of time, justice is coming,” prosecutors have said.
His attorney in July told Reuters that Chansley was in plea negotiations after prison psychologists diagnosed him as suffering from mental illnesses including transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.
Friday’s hearing was conducted remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. More than 160 people were on phone lines listening to the hearing, which began after at least one voice could be heard yelling the word “Freedom!”
Nearly 600 defendants have been charge in cases related to the Capitol riot, which began after then-President Donald Trump urged supporters at a rally to march to Congress and oppose the confirmation of Biden’s victory.