Jacob Chansley, the “QAnon shaman” who became one of the leading faces of the January 6 Capitol Hill Riots, was sentenced to 41 months in prison after pleading guilty to civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, and disorderly conduct in a restricted building, according to The Daily Beast.
The lengthy sentence was reportedly intended to send a message and set an example for other January 6 rioters. Chansley’s ensemble of Viking garb, Nordic tattoos, and right-wing American iconography have widely come to symbolise both the riots and QAnon writ large.
“What you did was horrific, obstructing the functioning of the government,” U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth said during the sentencing. “What you did was terrible. You made yourself the epitome of the riot.”
The 41-month sentence was slightly less than the 51 months sought by prosecutors. Chansley has remained in jail since his arrest in January.
In court, Al Watkins, the shaman’s defence attorney, argued his client should receive a significantly lower sentence because he had recently been diagnosed with a schizotypal personality disorder. As part of the sentence, Chansley will have to submit to regular drug testing and mental health treatment and pay $US2,000 (A$2,752) in restitution.
Chansley was one of the first rioters indicted by federal prosecutors following January 6. In a January filing following his arrest, prosecutors said he was a prominent participant and an active symbol of a “violent insurrection that attempted to overthrow the United States Government.” Earlier in the year Watkins, Chansley’s attorney, tried to put the onus of blame for the attack on former President Donald Trump and said his client was simply listening to his words and obeying the orders of a president.
“They listened to those words,” Watkins said. “And those words meant something to them. And they had a right to rely on the words of their president that was strewed forth worldwide.”
Chansley’s sentencing was reportedly inundated with references to Gandhi, Jesus, and even The Shawshank Redemption, as he tried to convince the court of his remorse.
“Men of honour admit when they’re wrong,” Chansley said according to The Daily Beast. “I was wrong for entering the Capitol. I have no excuse, no excuse whatsoever.” Chansley denied being an insurrectionist and instead described himself as “a good man who broke the law.”
“I look up to Gandhi. I look up to Jesus. I want to mirror them,” Chansley said.”
The sentence length matches that of a previous verdict handed down to a 44-year-old New Jersey gym owner earlier this month. So far, those are the two lengthiest of anyone involved in Capitol Hill riots to date.