Jacob Chansley Sentenced to 41 Months

Images via Twitter @saulleob and The Alexandria (Va.) Sheriff’s Office

Jacob Chansley, the man federal prosecutors called “the public face of the Capitol riot,” was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison, one of the longest sentences handed down so far in connection with the January 6 insurrection. 

Chansley, who also goes by the name Jake Angeli, has gained fame as the “QAnon Shaman.” While storming the U.S. Capitol, he wore a Viking hat with fur and horns and carried a spear bearing an American flag.

Sentenced by Judge Royce C. Lamberth, the Justice Department had asked for Chansley to receive a harsh sentence as a way to set an example among the rioters, and prosecutors have positioned Chansley as emblematic of a barbaric crowd. Lamberth has kept Chansley in jail since his arrest, despite his multiple attempts to gain sympathy and his release.

Other judges are likely to look to Lamberth’s sentence as a possible benchmark, since Chansley is one of the first felony defendants among more than 660 Capitol riot cases to receive a punishment.

“If the defendant had been peaceful on that day, your honor, we would not be here,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Paschall told Lamberth. 

Pictures of Chansley at the Capitol went viral because of his bizarre appearance while leading others, shouting into a bullhorn. As one of the first 30 rioters inside the building, he made his way to the Senate dais that was hastily vacated earlier by then-Vice President Mike Pence, and left a note, according to his plea documents.

“‘Times up, motherfuckers’ is not peaceful, your honor,” Paschall said, referencing what Chansley yelled in the Senate chamber. “That’s chilling.”

She also noted that Chansley called the former Vice President “a fucking traitor” from the dais in the Senate and called the letter he left on Pence’s desk, which read, “It’s only a matter of time. Justice is coming,” a threat. 

For more than 30 minutes, Chansley, who plead guilty in September to a felony count of obstruction of an official proceeding, spoke to Lamberth about the impact jail has had on him and the guilt he feels for breaking the law. He admits to wrongdoing, but says he is not an insurrectionist or domestic terrorist. Just “a good man who broke the law.”

His sprawling speech held the attention of the judge, as Chansley quoted Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and The Shawshank Redemption, and described wanting to live his life like Jesus Christ and Gandhi.

Although impressed by his statement, Lamberth could not justify a shorter sentence. 

After the riot and his arrest, Chansley asked Trump for a pardon. He also went on a hunger strike in an attempt to get organic food while in custody and spoke to 60 Minutes from jail without permission. 


 

 

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