Jacob Chansley, better known as the “QAnon Shaman,” became the face of the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Now, after having served a prison sentence of 29 months, including two months in a halfway house, Chansley is praying for national unity as he seeks to have his conviction overturned.
The Arizona native—a Navy veteran whose distinct look with face paint and a horned hat became a national symbol of Jan. 6—was released from custody on May 25 and is now serving 36 months of supervised release.
Chansley’s prison sentence hit the spotlight earlier this year after Fox News aired previously unreleased surveillance footage in and around the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, on the primetime program hosted by Tucker Carlson, who was fired from Fox two months later.
Among the footage was a clip showing Chansley walking alongside several Capitol Police officers who didn’t attempt to remove him from the building. At that time, prominent public figures such as Elon Musk called for Chansley’s release.
Chansley’s release came on the same day as the founder of the Oath Keepers militia, Stewart Rhodes, was handed an 18-year prison sentence—the lengthiest term yet in the Jan. 6 cases. During the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, an Obama appointee, said Rhodes “wanted the democracy of this country to devolve into violence,” while Rhodes insisted he’s a “political prisoner.” Rhodes didn’t enter the Capitol building on Jan. 6.
To Chansley’s former lawyer Albert Watkins, however, both Rhodes and Chansley went through a justice system “compromised” by a political narrative that permeated the prosecutions.
“The government, through the Department of Justice … chose to create a narrative that vilifies many individuals who would be our neighbor, or our colleagues, or relatives we knew … to be law-abiding citizens who, for any number of reasons, ended up in D.C., at the Capitol on January 6,” Watkins told The Epoch Times on May 25.
“And I respectfully suggest that more damage has been done to our nation by how we have handled the Jan. 6 defendants than was done by the defendants in January 2021,” he said.
By Gary Bai