April 14, 2021

Judge rejects bid by ‘QAnon Shaman’ to get released from custody pending trial

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ordered self-described “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley to remain in government custody pending further legal proceedings in his case on charges related to his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S Capitol.

Saying that Chansley could still constitute a threat to members of the general public, the judge ruled that no conditions could be placed on Chansley that would assure he’d appear before the court in the future.

“At the hearing and in his briefs, [Chansley] characterizes himself as a peaceful person who was welcomed into the Capitol building on Jan. 6 by police officers,” Judge Royce Lamberth said in his ruling Monday. “The Court finds none of his many attempts to manipulate the evidence and minimize the seriousness of his actions persuasive.”

Chansley, who was seen during the insurrection wearing face paint and horns, has pleaded not guilty to charges of civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Federal prosecutors in his case have described him as a leader within the QAnon movement, which they bluntly described in a previous legal filing as a “dangerous extremist group.”

QAnon, a fringe internet conspiracy that surfaced in 2017, promotes baseless claims that former President Donald Trump is battling a global network of billionaire pedophiles, devil-worshipping Democrats and cannibalistic Hollywood stars and their “deep state” counterparts inside the U.S. government.

In a detention hearing on Friday, Chansley’s attorney, Al Watkins, said that his client was deceived by former President Donald Trump into believing that joining the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol that day was part of his patriotic duty.

“If President Trump had told him to go to the Washington Monument, stand on his head and say a prayer, my client would have walked to the Washington Monument, stood on his head and said a prayer,” Watkins said.

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