The horned Donald Trump enthusiast known as the “QAnon Shaman” pleaded guilty Friday in connection with his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Chansley pleaded guilty to one felony count of his indictment: obstruction of an official proceeding. The first Capitol defendant sentenced under that same charge received eight months in prison. Chansley has served nearly that amount of time already, and his lawyer said he would be pushing for release until he’s formally sentenced. Prosecutors, however, want to keep Chansley locked up until sentencing, and say that his sentencing guidelines would be between 41 and 51 months.
Chansley’s lawyer, an eccentric attorney from St. Louis, said Thursday that his client no longer wishes to be affiliated with “Q,” the sprawling conspiracy theory that posits that Trump was saving children from some sort of cannibalistic sex trafficking ring.
Al Watkins, Chansley’s attorney, said at a press conference after his client’s guilty plea that Chansley had been under “a great deal of familial pressure not to take a plea because President Trump was going to reassume office and, my goodness, pardon him.” Like millions of Americans, Chansley’s family members had been sucked into baseless conspiracy theories about a stolen election and actually believed that Trump would resume office. Chansley, Watkins said, had moved somewhat away from QAnon conspiracies after getting help with his mental health, but Watkins said the broader process was going to take longer.
“Have I witnessed this traversing of a path away from QAnon by Jacob? Absolutely. Has he extricated himself such that his boots don’t smell of QAnon? No. No, it’s still there,” Wakins said. “And it’s going to take time.”
Chansley, with his distinctive attire, was one of the first people arrested in connection with the Capitol attack and one of the most covered. His requests for organic food while in jail received an onslaught of media coverage, as did his lawyer’s declaration that the people who stormed the Capitol were “fucking short bus people.” He was a regular presence at Trump rallies in Arizona in the lead-up to the 2019 election. He spent two years in the Navy, leaving as a supply clerk seaman apprentice.
The FBI has made at least 600 arrests in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, and hundreds more cases are in the works.