ARIZONA NEWS

Prosecutors seek 51-month sentence for Arizona’s ‘QAnon Shaman’

Nov 10, 2021, 11:37 AM | Updated: 11:46 am
Jacob Chansley. (Alexandria Sheriff's Office, AP File Photos)...
Jacob Chansley. (Alexandria Sheriff's Office, AP File Photos)
(Alexandria Sheriff's Office, AP File Photos)

PHOENIX – Federal prosecutors are seeking more than four years in prison for Jacob Chansley, but the Arizona man who pleaded guilty for his role in breaching the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 while dressed in his infamous “QAnon Shaman” outfit wants his detention to end next week.

A 28-page Justice Department sentencing memo filed Tuesday night requests a prison term of 51 months – the high end of guidelines — plus three years of supervised release and $2,000 in restitution.

The defendant’s 23-page sentencing memo, meanwhile, asks for a sentence of time served, which would come out to under 11 months if granted at the Nov. 17 sentencing hearing.

The prosecutors’ memo from the office of Matthew Graves, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, says the longer sentence would be serve as a deterrent to others.

“The government submits that such a sentence would be an appropriate one, which would serve to protect the community, punish the defendant for his criminal conduct, and deter others from committing similar offenses,” the memo says.

In the defendant’s memo, attorney Albert Watkins rebuts the idea that a longer sentence would deter others and notes that most of his client’s time in custody has been spent in solitary confinement because of COVID-19 protocols.

Watkins also argues that Chansley’s difficult childhood and mental health should be taken into account and makes two references to Forrest Gump – misspelled as “Forest” – the slow-witted movie character who repeatedly winds up witnessing and influencing major historic moments.

Watkins’ memo says Chansley’s “gait and apparent Forest Gump-like obliviousness” were indicative of “mental health vulnerabilities.”

“Defendant respectfully requests that the Court impose a sentence significantly below the range of sentencing recommended under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, recognizing the harshness of the conditions surrounding time served to date, and impose such sentence as permits Mr. Chansley to proceed hence with his pursuit of his mental and physical health prioritized,” Watkins’ memo says.

Chansley pleaded guilty on Sept. 3 to obstructing an official proceeding, a felony. According to the plea deal, guidelines called for a sentence of 41 to 51 months. He was originally indicted Jan. 11 on six counts but had five charges dismissed through the plea.

The Arizona man has become a symbol of the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion because of his flamboyant appearance – with face paint, bare and tattooed torso and fuzzy hat with horns.

More than 100 law enforcement officers were injured during the riot, according to prosecutors. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick collapsed and died after rioters sprayed him with a chemical irritant.

Before Jan. 6, Chansley, a rabid promoter of the QAnon conspiracy theory, had been a fixture at rallies for then-President Donald Trump and various protests in Phoenix, impossible to miss in his flamboyant costume.

Chansley was among the first wave of pro-Trump rioters to force its way into the Capitol building during a siege that prompted lawmakers to go into hiding as they were meeting to certify President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

He yelled into a bullhorn as officers tried to control the crowd, posed for photos and referred to then-Vice President Mike Pence as a traitor. He also wrote a note to Pence saying, “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”

More than 650 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the events of Jan. 6, including more than 100 accused of assaulting law enforcement officers.

A New Jersey gym owner who punched a police officer was sentenced Wednesday to more than three years in prison, a likely benchmark for dozens of other rioters who engaged in violence that day.

Scott Fairlamb, 44, was the first person to be sentenced for assaulting a law enforcement officer during the Capitol riot. His 41-month prison term is the longest among 32 riot-related sentences handed down so far.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Match Market & Bar Photo/Timothy Fox Photography)...
KTAR.com

What’s cooking? Spring Arizona Restaurant Week starts 10-day run Friday

More than 100 restaurants have signed on to show off their menus during Arizona Restaurant Week, which kicks off Friday.
16 hours ago
(Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)...
Danny Shapiro

Phoenix gas average eclipses $5 a gallon with more increases likely this summer, expert says

Phoenix has eclipsed an average of $5 for a gallon of gasoline and prices are likely to continue rising for a while, an industry expert said Wednesday.
16 hours ago
(Pixabay Stock Photo)...
KTAR.com

Bicycle rider dies after getting hit by car on Phoenix street

A man who was riding a bicycle died after getting struck by a car Tuesday night on 51st Avenue near Camelback Road in Phoenix, authorities said.
16 hours ago
U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Arizona) meets with a Border Patrol official in Douglas, Arizona, in April ...
Kevin Stone

Here’s what Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona wants to see before Title 42 is lifted

U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona said there will be chaos at the southern border if Title 42 ends before the government is prepared to address the surge of migrants expected to follow.
16 hours ago
(Phoenix Fire Department Photo)...
KTAR.com

More than 150 firefighters beat back flames at Phoenix pallet yard

More than 150 firefighters spent hours putting out a large fire at a pallet yard late Tuesday, first responders said.
16 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Danny Shapiro

Chandler is No. 1 nationally for increase in 2-bedroom rent, according to report

Chandler is tops nationally for increase in two-bedroom rent, according to a report released Friday.
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Have you gotten your booster shot?

Do you remember when you got your last COVID-19 vaccination? If it has been more than five months since you completed your primary vaccination series, it’s time for you to get your booster. You may be eligible even sooner depending which vaccine you received. If you are over the age of 50 and received your […]
...
By Dr. Richard Carmona

Now’s a great time to receive your COVID-19 vaccine

If you haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine yet, now’s the time to join many other of your fellow Arizonans who are doing so right now. No one will criticize you; there is no shame. In fact, you’ll be welcomed with smiles and open arms!
Prosecutors seek 51-month sentence for Arizona’s ‘QAnon Shaman’