Lawyer for ‘Q Shaman’ asked a judge to release him from jail, insisting his spear wasn’t a danger to anyone
The lawyer representing “Q Shaman” Jacob Chansley asked a judge to release him ahead of trial.
He insisted the spear Chansley carried on January 6 was just a flagpole with an ornament on top.
Prosecutors said the lawyer spoke “for more than 20 minutes and hasn’t said a single correct thing.”
The attorney representing the self-styled “Q Anon Shaman” urged a federal judge on Wednesday to release his client from jail, arguing that the spear he was seen holding in the US Capitol wasn’t a spear at all and therefore posed no danger.
Jacob Chansley faces six charges stemming from the January 6 Capitol siege. He has become one of the most recognizable accused rioters after being pictured that day shirtless, wearing face paint and a headdress with fur and horns.
Chansley’s attorney, Al Watkins, told Judge Royce Lambert new evidence revealed that the “spear” Chansley held in the Capitol was actually just a flagpole with a “finial” on top, which he said was unattached and would have fallen off if Chansley tilted the flagpole horizontally.
Watkins also said new videos showed Chansley having “friendly interactions with law enforcement,” and noted that police never tried to seize Chansley’s flagpole.
“We are now aware that that flagpole was useless,” Watkins said, calling it “part of the shaman costume.” He argued that the spear had been the basis for prosecutors’ arguments that Chansley was armed with a weapon and could have hurt someone.
Watkins also raised concerns about Chansley’s mental health, calling him “a man who needs some attention that he is not able to get.” Watkins previously drew criticism after telling Talking Points Memo the Capitol Riot defendants were “f—ing short bus people.”
The prosecutor, James Nelson, appeared to lose patience at one point during Wednesday’s hearing, noting that Watkins “has been talking for more than 20 minutes and hasn’t said a single correct thing.”
Nelson said video evidence from January 6 disproved Watkins’ arguments, showing that Chansley was part of a group of people that pushed past police and had entered the building through a broken window.
He said the videos also showed Chansley pushing into the Senate chamber, walking onto the dais, calling former Vice President Mike Pence a “f—ing traitor,” and leaving behind a threatening note.
Lambert said he’d consider both sides’ arguments and issue a ruling “promptly,” but asked Nelson for his thoughts on releasing Chansley while forbidding him to access the internet ahead of his trial.
“Realistically, I don’t know how you put someone on release with conditions they don’t access the internet, because it can be done from so many devices in such an anonymous way that it’s unenforceable,” Nelson responded. “I don’t know how any supervising agency would enforce that condition.”
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