Plea hearing scheduled for ‘QAnon Shaman’ facing Jan. 6 riot charges

Capitol Riots

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: A protester screams “Freedom” inside the Senate chamber after the U.S. Capitol was breached by a mob during a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. Pro-Trump protesters entered the U.S. Capitol building during demonstrations in the nation’s capital. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The federal judge hearing the case of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot defendant known as the “QAnon Shaman” has scheduled a plea hearing for Friday, according to a court filing and the defendant’s lawyer.

In a news release, Albert Watkins, lawyer for the “Shaman,” confirmed that a hearing had been set for Friday morning “for the horn donning, fur wearing, tattoo chested, Jacob Chansley,” which is the defendant’s real name.

Court records show that Chansley faces six charges, including civil disorder and obstructing an official proceeding. As of Thursday, records do not indicate which specific charge or charges to which Chansley intends to plead guilty.

He had been a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory that casts Trump as a savior figure and elite Democrats as a cabal of Satanist pedophiles and cannibals.

In his news release, Watkins asserted that Chansley, whom he previously acknowledged had been found by prison officials to be suffering from mental disorders, now “has repudiated the ‘Q’ previously assigned to him and requests future references to him be devoid of use of the letter ‘Q’.”

Watkins said that in the months since the riot Chansley, who has been held in pretrial detention, had charted a difficult path involving “pain, depression, solitary confinement, introspection, recognition of mental health vulnerabilities, and a coming to grips with the need for more self-work.”

Chansley is one of the most recognizable of the hundreds of Donald Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 after the then-president in a fiery speech falsely claimed that his November election defeat was the result of fraud.

Chansley, of Arizona, was photographed inside the Capitol wearing a horned headdress, shirtless and heavily tattooed.

Reporting by Mark Hosenball

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. 

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