'QAnon Shaman' Gets One of Longest Sentences Yet

But not the 51-month sentence prosecutors wanted for Jacob Chansley
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2021 1:18 PM CST
Updated Nov 17, 2021 11:04 AM CST
Prosecutors Want to Make an Example of 'QAnon Shaman'
"The government cannot overstate the seriousness of the defendant's conduct as one of the most prominent figures of the historic riot," prosecutors said.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Update: Prosecutors didn't get the 51-month sentence they wanted, but Jacob Chansley was still handed one of the longest sentences yet in connection with the events of Jan. 6. The "QAnon Shaman" was on Wednesday sentenced to 41 months in federal prison by Judge Royce C. Lamberth, reports HuffPo. Prosecutors described Chansley, who wasn't accused of any violence, as the "public face of the Capitol riot." He apologized prior to sentencing, saying "I have no excuse. My behavior is indefensible." The AP reports Lamberth considered the remorse genuine, but noted, "What you did was terrible. You made yourself the center of the riot." Our original story from last week follows:

Prosecutors want to make an example out of the most recognizable Capitol rioter—Jacob Chansley, aka the "QAnon Shaman." Chansley, who was seen storming the Senate chamber on Jan. 6 shirtless and wearing a horned headdress, pleaded guilty in September to a felony charge of obstructing an official proceeding. In a sentencing memo filed late Tuesday, prosecutors asked for a sentence of 51 months, which is at the upper end of sentencing guidelines, CNN reports. "Defendant Chansley’s now-famous criminal acts have made him the public face of the Capitol riot," prosecutors wrote, calling him "quite literally" the flagbearer of the mob. Chansley left a threatening note for Mike Pence, but he is not accused of assaulting anybody.

Prosecutors said Chansley was among the first 30 rioters to enter the Capitol. The invasion "made us all question the safety and security of the country in which we live," prosecutors wrote, arguing that such acts "must be deterred so that we never see a similar assault on our democracy again." They noted that weeks before the riot, Chansley spread disinformation online, telling his thousands of followers on Facebook that it was time to "hang the traitors lurking among us." Chansley, who has already been in jail for 10 months, is only the third felony Capitol defendant to reach the sentencing phase after pleading guilty, Politico reports. He will be sentenced next Wednesday.

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Chansley's lawyer has argued that his client has struggled with mental health issues and should be sentenced only to time served because he had no role in planning the riot. In February, the lawyer said Chansley had realized that Donald Trump "really didn't love him" and would cooperate with investigators. Another Capitol defendant, New Jersey gym owner Scott Fairlamb, was sentenced to 41 months Wednesday, the AP reports. The sentence for the 44-year-old former boxing coach, who assaulted a law enforcement officer, is expected to be a benchmark in sentencing dozens of other rioters who attacked officers outside the Capitol. (More Capitol riot stories.)

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