Speed Reads

Speed Reads

Prosecutors seek 4 1/4 years in prison for 'QAnon Shaman' Jacob Chansley over Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Federal prosecutors asked a judge Tuesday night to give "QAnon Shaman" Jacob Chansley 51 months in prison for his "now-famous criminal acts" that "made him the public face of the Capitol riot" on Jan. 6. The four year, three month sentence would be the stiffest handed down yet for the Jan. 6 Capitol siege, and it's at the top end of the federal sentencing guidelines.

Chansley, who pleaded guilty to obstructing Congress from certifying President Biden's electoral victory,  is only the third Capitol rioter charged with a felony to have reached the sentencing phase, Politico reports. Prosecutors recommended 18 months for defendant Paul Hodgkins, but a federal judge gave him eight months. U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, who is handling Chansley's case, is scheduled to sentence the third felon, former MMA fighter Scott Fairlamb, on Wednesday; prosecutors have asked for 44 months in prison. 

Chansley merits the longer sentence because he spent months before the riot spreading disinformation about the election, he publicly gloated and "showed no remorse in the days after the event," he carried a spear-tipped U.S. flag into the Senate chamber, and he repeatedly refused commands from police officers, prosecutors write in their 28-page sentencing memo.

"What should have been a day in which Congress fulfilled its solemn, constitutional duty in certifying the vote count of the Electoral College, ensuring the peaceful transition of power in our nation, was disrupted by a mob of thousands on Jan. 6, 2021," and Chansley "was, quite literally, their flag-bearer," the prosecutors write. He "was among the first 30 rioters to penetrate the U.S. Capitol building," and he "then stalked the hallowed halls of the building, riling up other members of the mob with his screaming obscenities about our nation's lawmakers, and flouting the 'opportunity' to rid our government of those he has long considered to be traitors."

Chansley's lawyer, Albert Watkins, has said a sentence "significantly below" the 41-51-month guidelines would be appropriate and noted that by the time he is sentenced, Chansley will have already spent 10 months behind bars.