Jacob Chansley, arguably one of the most recognizable individuals who took part in the breach of the United States Capitol on January 6, was sentenced Wednesday to serve 41 months in prison for his role in the day’s events.
Chansley, who once described himself as the “QAnon Shaman,” was an ardent loyalist of former President Donald Trump who dressed himself in horns and a bearskin headdress and painted his face with the colors of the U.S. flag on the day that Congress was set to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. Chansely joined a mob of hundreds of Trump loyalists, who falsely believed that President Joe Biden won the election due to election fraud.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) charged Chansley with a number of offenses, including knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without the legal authority to do so, as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct inside the Capitol. The department also alleged that Chansley left a threatening note to then-Vice President Mike Pence, which read “it’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”
Many Trump loyalists, including the former president himself, falsely believed that Pence had the authority to overturn the results of the election. (Biden defeated Trump in the Electoral College by 306 votes to 232.) Indeed, on the day of the certification, just prior to the attack on the Capitol itself, Trump told his loyalists that he hoped Pence would do “the right thing” — implying he wanted his vice president to disregard the actual election results, and help him to stay president for another term.
Trump also told his followers to march to the Capitol directly to voice dissatisfaction with the certification of the election, telling his loyalists who eventually attacked they would “never take back our country with weakness.”
Chansley said he traveled to Washington, D.C., on January 6 because of Trump’s prior calls for “patriots” to attend a rally.
In addition to his 41-month sentence, Chansley must pay $100 in restitution once he is released, and will be subjected to 36 months of supervised release.
Prosecutors had demanded a longer sentence for the 34-year-old, arguing that his actions “made him the public face of the Capitol riot.” Chansley’s lawyers, meanwhile, maintained their client was “non-violent, peaceful and possessed of genuine mental health issues” at the time of his involvement in the attack on the Capitol.
His sentence is among the longest of any individual who took part in the breach. Last week, another individual, New Jersey gym owner Scott Fairlamb, was also sentenced to 41 months in prison.
Those lengthy sentences are atypical of what most Trump loyalists will face, analyses from this past summer surmised. Those making deals with federal prosecutors, and who were first-time offenders, will likely see prison sentences of under a year, with many facing no prison sentence at all.
According to a website managed by the DOJ, more than 600 individuals have been charged by the department for their role in the attack on January 6. At least five individuals died as a result of the breach of the Capitol building on that day.
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