The “QAnon Shaman” Gets 41 Months in Prison

“What you did was terrible. You made yourself the epitome of the riot.”

Jacob Chansley on January 6.Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.

Jacob Chansley, the “QAnon Shaman” who became the image of the January 6 Capitol riot, got 41 months in prison on Wednesday, one of the longest sentences handed out to defendants facing charges for their actions that day.

Chansley, 34, entered the Capitol and the Senate chamber on January 6, shirtless, tattooed, and wearing a fur hat with horns. His face was painted red, white, and blue and he held a spear with an American flag on it. (Chansley got his moniker by wearing similar garb at events held by adherents of the QAnon conspiracy theory.) In the Senate chamber, which lawmakers had previously fled, he yelled, “Time’s up, motherfuckers.” He also left a note on the Senate desk of Vice President Mike Pence stating: “It’s only a matter of time. Justice is coming.”

Federal prosecutors called Chansley’s conduct threatening. “If the defendant had been peaceful on that day, your honor, we would not be here,” Assistant US Attorney Kimberly Paschall said Wednesday. In rambling but at times articulate remarks at his sentencing hearing Wednesday, Chansley expressed remorse. He said he wants to emulate Christ and Gandhi and cited his “shamanic beliefs.”

“My shamanic attire was designed to ward off evil spirits, not to scare people,” he said. He described struggles with mental illness and the effects of childhood trauma, including his father’s suicide, and time he has already spent in solitary confinement. “The hardest part of this is I know I’m to blame,” he said.

“I’m not an insurrectionist, I’m certainly not a domestic terrorist,” Chansley added. “I’m a good man who broke the law.

US District Court Judge Royce Lamberth credited Chansley with making “heartfelt” remarks.” But he said he could not depart downward from the sentencing guidelines. He gave Chansley 41 months, with credit for the 11 months he has already spent in jail. Lamberth last week also gave a 41-month sentence to Scott Fairlamb, a New Jersey man and former mixed martial arts fighter who admitted to punching a police officer on January 6. Those sentences are longest handed out so far to January 6 defendants. 

“What you did here was obstruct the functioning of the entire government,” Lamberth told Chansley. “What you did was terrible. You made yourself the epitome of the riot.”

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and billionaire owners wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2021 demands.

payment methods

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and billionaire owners wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2021 demands.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate