Arizona’s ‘QAnon Shaman’ sentenced to 41 months for role in Jan. 6 attacks
PHOENIX — Jacob Chansley, 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, was sentenced to 41 months in prison on Wednesday.
The sentence was on the low end of the guidelines of his plea deal but matched the longest among the more than 30 riot-related sentences handed down so far. Prosecutors wanted the maximum of 51 months.
Before he was sentenced, Chansley told U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth it was wrong for him to enter the Capitol and that he accepts responsibility for his actions. He emphasized he wasn’t an insurrectionist and is troubled with the way he was portrayed in news stories in the aftermath of the riot.
“I have no excuse,” Chansley said. “No excuses whatsoever. My behavior is indefensible.”
The judge said Chansley’s remorse appeared to be genuine but noted the seriousness of his actions in the Capitol. “What you did was terrible,” Lamberth said. “You made yourself the center of the riot.”
Chansley, who has been in jail for 10 months, sought to be sentenced to time served. His lawyer, Albert Watkins, said his client has longstanding mental health problems that were worsened by being held in solitary confinement due to COVID-19 protocols and is in dire need of mental health treatment.
Chansley, 34, pleaded guilty on Sept. 3 to obstructing an official proceeding, a felony. 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 675 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the events of Jan. 6, including more than 100 accused of assaulting law enforcement officers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.