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.”