The lawyer for ‘QAnon shaman’ Jacob Chansley, who stormed the Capitol building during last week’s riot wearing horns, wants Donald Trump to pardon him because he felt he was ‘answering the call of our President.’
Albert Watkins spoke on Cuomo Prime Time Thursday evening defending his client Chansley, 33, a well-known supporter of the QAnon conspiracy in Arizona who was arrested Saturday for his role in the violet Capitol siege on January 6.
This week Chansley, who also goes by Jake Angeli, was indicted by a federal grand jury on six counts including violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol.
‘Trump needs to stand up and own these people. He owes them – he has an obligation to them,’ Watkins said to host Chris Cuomo.
‘And do what?’ Cuomo asked.
‘Give a pardon, give a pardon,’ Watkins replied.
Albert Watkins (right), the lawyer for ‘QAnon shaman’ Jacob Chansley, said on Cuomo Prime Time Thursday night he wants President Trump to pardon his client, claiming he was ‘answering the call of our President’
Prosecutors say Chansley, who calls himself the ‘QAnon shaman’ and who has attended several pro-Trump rallies in Arizona, was one of the first rioters to storm the Capitol building in the violent January 6 riot. He wore face paint, a bearskin headdress with horns and carried a spear with an American flag attached to it
Capitol riot suspect Jacob Chansley, known as the “Qanon shaman,” is asking for a pardon from President Trump, saying he believed Trump had invited him to enter the Capitol, says his attorney.
My client “felt he was answering the call of our President,” says Albert Watkins. pic.twitter.com/iccAp5sRDO
— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) January 15, 2021
‘You want him to pardon the people that broke into the Capitol and killed a policeman and was trying to get to members of Congress?’ Cuomo hit back.
‘My role is not to judge somebody. My role is to be an advocate. If there’s one iota of a chance that the guy who is the president of our country who invited everybody down Pennsylvania Avenue will give my client a pardon, you know what, I’m going to do it,’ Watkins explained.
‘Now am I holding my breath thinking Donald Trump will be sitting around going, you know what, what’s the name of the guy with the horns? Let’s give him a pardon. With Trump, you never know. He may say I want the guy with the horns,’ he added.
Watkins explained that Chansley genuinely felt he was obeying the President’s demands in raiding the Capitol.
‘He felt like his voice was for the first time being heard and what ended up happening over the course of the leadup to the election, over the course of a period from the election to January 6th, it was a driving force by a man he hung his hat on, he hitched his wagon to, he loved Trump, every word,’ he said.
‘He listened to him. He felt like he was answering the call of our President,’ he added.
Watkins argued that Chansley felt that he was answering the demands of the President when Trump urged his supporters to walk to the Capitol during his ‘Save America’ rally on January 6
Chansley is one of the MAGA rioters who turned himself in to the FBI for his part in storming the Capitol building last Wednesday. Chansley above wearing a fur headdress with horns and his chest bare during the Capitol siege Wednesday
Jacob Anthony Chansley is pictures as he occupied the Senate dais at the US Capitol last week
Chansley’s mother, Martha, said that her son was a ‘patriot’ and the ‘gentlest person I know’
Watkins explained that Chansley is considered a ‘genuine shaman,’ noting ‘He has been a long-standing professor of that faith’ and ‘couldn’t be a more gentle, soft spoken human being.’
‘He just walked in with the whole crowd that was walking in on the peaceful side of things,’ he said.
He noted that Chansley did not participate in any of the violent attacks that led to five deaths and injuries against police officres.
‘My client did not shroud his face in secrecy. He wasn’t wearing a bulletproof vest. My client was not armed. He didn’t have zip ties. My client fought – was in the military, served honorably. No criminal background whatsoever. And he, like a lot of other disenfranchised people in our country felt very, very, very solidly in sync with President Trump,’ Watkins said.
Cuomo argued that regardless of whether Chansley broke in or not, he entered it when he wasn’t supposed to walking around with a spear.
Chansley has been living with his mother Martha, 56, (left and right) since January 2019
‘We all have to understand that the words that were spoken by the president meant something, not just to my client, they meant something to a lot of people,’ Watkins said.
‘They listened to those words and those words meant something to them and they had a right to rely on the words of their president that was worldwide, and they did. And now they’re turning around, they’re getting arrested, as well many should be,’ he added.
Watkins said Chansley recently tested positive for COVID-19 and is being held in quarantine in a federal facility in Phoenix after surrendering to authorities Saturday.
He is a failed actor and has been living with his mother Martha, 56, since January 2019. He has also been seen at several pro-Trump rallies in Arizona over the past few months.
Prosecutors say Chansley was one of the first rioters in the building and he disobeyed a Capitol police officer’s order to leave. Instead he went to the Senate floor and sat in Vice President Mike Pence’s seat minutes after he had been evacuated.
Chansley then wrote Pence a note saying: It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming,’ according to a detention motion filed Thursday, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Prosecutors say Chansley is unemployed, a regular user of psychedelic drugs including mushrooms and peyote and has mental health issues.
‘Chansley has spoken openly about his belief that he is an alien, a higher being, and he is here on Earth to ascend to another reality,’ the motion said.
A view of Chansley screaming ‘Freedom’ inside the Senate chamber during the January 6 Capitol seige above
Protests Chansley attended include one in July where he filmed himself ranting that Covid-19 is a hoax. He was also part of a rowdy crowd of Trump supporters chanting ‘Stop the Steal’ who showed up at a tabulation center in Maricopa County on November 5
He also advocated for the hanging of ‘traitors’ in the US government.
Chansley made his initial appearance in a Phoenix federal courtroom on Monday.
A public defender who was representing Chansley said that his client was on an extremely restrictive diet, possibly for religious reasons, and hadn’t eaten anything since he was taken into custody.
Upon hearing the news, the judge said that it was ‘deeply concerning’ and ordered Chansley’s public defender to work with U.S. Marshals on his dietary concerns.
According to his mother, has not eaten since being detained because the detention facility won’t feed him all organic food.
‘He gets very sick if he doesn’t eat organic food – literally will get physically sick,’ his mother Martha Chansley said.
Chansley’s mother said that her son was a ‘patriot’ and the ‘gentlest person I know’.
His six charges are: Civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct, violent entry, disorderly conduct in a Capitol, demonstrating in a Capitol building.