So-called “QAnon Shaman” pleads guilty in Capitol riot case

The bare-chested man pictured with his face painted, wearing a horned helmet and howling in the Senate chamber during the insurrection on January 6th accepted a plea deal Friday in federal court on charges stemming from his participation at the riot.

Jacob Chansley, aka the “QAnon Shaman,” pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of an official proceeding. He had been charged with a six-count indictment that included civil disorder, violent entry and disorderly conduct, as well as a felony count for obstruction of an official proceeding, which carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, he is likely to face between 41 and 51 months (about 3 1/2 to 4 1/4 years), minus time served for the the eight months he has already been detained. He also agreed to pay restitution of $2,000.

Sentencing is scheduled for November 17. The judge has taken under advisement Chansley’s request to be released prior to sentencing, though his last several requests for release were denied.

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Jacob Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, the so-called “QAnon Shaman,” faced felony charges in connection with the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol. Alexandria Sheriff’s Office (left); Getty Images (right)

In a statement prior to Friday’s hearing, Chansley’s attorney, Albert Watkins, said his client no longer wants to be associated with the conspiracy theory QAnon: “Mr. Chansley, a long avowed and practicing Shaman, has repudiated the ‘Q’ previously assigned to him and requests future references to him be devoid of use of the letter ‘Q’.”

Watkins maintains that his client was “non-violent, peaceful and possessed of genuine mental health issues.” The judge had ordered that Chansley submit for a psychological evaluation in order to determine whether or not he was fit to stand trial.

Chansley, 34, voluntarily called the FBI the day after the riot, according to the affidavit, and admitted to being the man in the photos that are now synonymous with the mayhem at the Capitol. He also told law enforcement that he came to D.C. with other “patriots” from Arizona, at the request of President Trump that all “patriots” come on January 6.  

"QAnon Shaman" Jacob Chansley in the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021
A group of Trump supporters including Jacob Chansley, center, enter the U.S. Capitol during the riot on January 6, 2021. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Since his arrest, Chansley has made several attempts to be released from jail pending trial, and even successfully petitioned the court to move detention facilities in order to have access to organic foods in adherence to his shaman faith.

In an interview from jail in March, Chansley told 60 Minutes+ correspondent Laurie Segall that he did not think his actions on January 6 were an attack on the nation.

“No, they were not, ma’am. My actions were not an attack on this country. That is incorrect. That is inaccurate, entirely,” he said.

“QAnon Shaman” on Trump, January 6 riot 10:20

Chansley is one of nearly 600 defendants charged as a result of the Justice Department’s investigation in the Capitol riot.