Jacob Chansley, perhaps better known as the “QAnon Shaman,” was among the most prominent faces featured in coverage of the riot on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6. Clad in instantly recognizable facepaint and a horned headdress, Chansley was seen on video footage walking inside the Capitol building and even momentarily mounting the podium in the Senate chamber.
Chansley pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of an official proceeding for his actions that day. Now, according to Axios, he’s been sentenced to 41 months in prison.
It’s the longest sentence handed down thus far for any of those arrested and charged in relation to the unrest at the Capitol, but was still short of the 51-month sentence that prosecutors sought in the case.
“A serious crime”
Politico reports that U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, a Reagan appointee, described Chansley’s actions during the Jan. 6 riot as “horrific,” even as he acknowledged that Chansley had been nonviolent and appeared to show genuine remorse in the weeks that followed.
Still, Lamberth asserted that Chansley held responsibility for appearing as a leader amid the storming of the Capitol. “What you did was terrible. You made yourself the epitome of the riot,” the judge said, according to Politico.
“You didn’t slug anybody, but what you did here was actually obstruct the functioning of the whole government. It’s a serious crime,” the judge added.
“No excuse whatsoever”
For his part, Chansley asserted that he’s a “changed” man following the nine months he has already spent behind bars, much of it in solitary confinement, since being arrested and repeatedly denied bail.
“I was wrong for entering the Capitol,” he said, as Politico reported. “I have no excuse, no excuse whatsoever. The behavior is indefensible.”
In remarks likely aimed at the biased media coverage of the riot and his case, he added, “I am in no way, shape, or form a dangerous criminal. I am not a violent man. I am not an insurrectionist. I am certainly not a domestic terrorist. I am a good man who broke the law.”
Years behind bars
Insider reports that in addition to the 41-month sentence in federal prison, Chansley will also face another 36 months of supervised release, which will involve regular drug tests, and he will be compelled to pay $2,000 in fines and restitution.
Judge Lamberth actually told Chansley that he was “smart” to have accepted the plea deal that resulted in more than three years in prison, as he could have faced a much tougher sentence if he’d gone to trial.
Still, it’s a harsh sentence to many, and one that doesn’t bode well for the dozens of other defendants currently facing charges — some violent, others not so much — for what happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6.