Fox News host Tucker Carlson enraged the D.C. political establishment this week when he aired previously unseen surveillance camera footage from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021 that substantially contradicted and undermined the carefully crafted narratives of what happened inside the Capitol building on that day.
That includes the case of Jacob Chansley, the so-called “QAnon Shaman,” whose attorney is now furiously calling out the Biden administration for lying and failing to turn over all of the video footage of his client during the trial, as is required by law, the Daily Wire reported.
Video contradicts narrative about Chansley
On Monday, Carlson aired footage of Chansley — the iconic shirtless man with a furry horned headdress, facepaint, and an American flag on a spear — seemingly being casually guided around the building by Capitol Police officers, who even appeared to have helped him gain entry to the evacuated Senate chamber.
🚨BREAKING: Never before seen video of January 6 shows Jacob Chansley, the QAnon Shaman, being led through the Capitol by police the entire time that he was in the building. pic.twitter.com/rikoRMWezF
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 7, 2023
That video portrays a dramatically different story than that presented by federal prosecutors, who hit Chansley with numerous felony charges that ultimately prompted him to withdraw his not-guilty plea and agree to a plea deal.
According to a Nov. 17, 2021, DOJ press release — which, of course, made no mention of Chansley’s non-violent behavior and apparent police escort while inside the Capitol building — Chansley, who had been held in custody since he was arrested on Jan. 9, 2021, pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding and was sentenced to serve 41 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and to pay $2,000 in restitution.
Attorney has “never seen anything so vile”
“We did not receive that video footage,” Chansley’s attorney, Albert Watkins, told the Daily Wire of the footage Carlson aired. “We asked for it, and not just once or twice. Whether we asked for it or not is irrelevant because the government had an absolute, non-compromisable duty to disclose that video and they did not do so.”
“And all the while, they were actively representing to the court and the American people that Jake was a leader, leading the charge into the Capitol,” he continued. “They did not disclose that footage because it ran contrary to their rote narrative.”
“I’ve never seen anything so vile as what I’m seeing right now,” Watkins said. “It’s a departure from a pretty high standard they’ve maintained for a long time. Anyone who needs to have belief in the integrity of our justice system, whether they’re a left-wing New England academic or a raging right-winger, needs to say that this is really wrong and f–king it up for everyone.”
Clear violation of Brady requirements for evidence
The Daily Wire noted that, per the U.S. v. Brady Supreme Court decision, prosecutors are required to turn over all relevant information about a defendant to defense attorneys ahead of trial, especially if that evidence is exculpatory. And, unfortunately, it appears that the DOJ is in gross violation of that requirement with regard to all of the Jan. 6 defendants it has prosecuted to date.
“It’s appalling. Whether you’re right-leaning, you like Tucker Carlson, you hate Tucker Carlson, is irrelevant,” Watkins said. “This is about putting a dagger in the heart of our justice system. And the person holding the dagger and thrusting it with all its might is our Department of Justice. This required collaboration from the top of the Justice Department right down to the Assistant U.S. Attorney lying to me, a fellow officer of the court, knowing I had a duty to put my client in the best position I could based on the evidence.”
The outlet noted that court documents show that Watkins — undoubtedly among other defense attorneys — had repeatedly requested that DOJ prosecutors make available all of the video footage, and that is what prosecutors did, technically speaking, as it created a massive “dump” of video footage on a website but failed to provide adequate tools and resources to make searching the tens of thousands of hours of video easy or efficient … and Watkins said he has still been unable to find the same footage that Carlson aired.
Judges should be furious that prosecutors lied and withheld evidence
“This is as egregious a violation of the trust as I have seen, with the exception of hiding DNA evidence in a murder case,” Watkins told the Daily Wire. “If I’m a federal judge and find out that indeed I was played a fool, I was duped by an assistant U.S. attorney that lied to me repeatedly while Mr. Watkins was yelling that no one was more peaceful than Jacob, and I’m making rulings based on what the government is saying, I’d be one pissed off federal judge.”
That federal judge who oversaw Chansley’s prosecution and sentenced him would be Judge Royce Lamberth, who no longer has jurisdiction over the case. The only real option now for Chansley is for Watkins to file a “special writ of habeas corpus — it’s an extraordinary remedy but one that’s warranted here.”