(Headline USA) Jacob Chansley, the spear-carrying Jan. 6 revolutionary whose horned fur hat, bare chest and face paint made him one of the more recognizable figures in the assault on the Capitol, plastered across newspapers throughout the globe, was sentenced Wednesday to 41 months in prison.
Chansley, who pleaded guilty to a felony charge of “obstructing an official proceeding” under an archaic law that had been intended to prevent political interference in the prosecutions of Enron officials during the George W. Bush presidency, was among the first rally-goers to enter the building.
He has acknowledged using a bullhorn to rile up the mob, offering thanks in a prayer while in the Senate for having the chance to get rid of traitors and scratching out a threatening note to Vice President Mike Pence saying, “It’s Only A Matter of Time. Justice Is Coming!”
Though he isn’t accused of violence, prosecutors claimed Chansley, of Arizona, was the “public face of the Capitol riot” who went into the attack with a weapon, ignored repeated police orders to leave the building and gloated about his actions in the days immediately after the attack.
Before he was sentenced, Chansley told U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth it was wrong for him to enter the Capitol and that he accepted responsibility for his actions.
He emphasized he wasn’t an insurrectionist and was troubled with the way he was portrayed in news stories in the aftermath of the riot.
“I have no excuse,” Chansley said. “No excuses whatsoever. My behavior is indefensible.”
The judge said Chansley’s remorse appeared to be genuine but noted the seriousness of his actions in the Capitol. “What you did was terrible,” Lamberth said. “You made yourself the center of the riot.”
The image of Chansley holding a flagpole topped with a spear tip and looking as if he were howling was one of the most striking to emerge from the roughly four-hour, mostly peaceful incursion, during which only one person—pro-Trump rally-goer Ashli Babbitt—was killed.
Three other Trump supporters were determined to have died of natural causes—including one by overdose. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died later that night of a stroke, though it remains unclear whether it was linked to the events of the day.
Chansley previously called himself the “QAnon Shaman” but has since repudiated the QAnon movement, which is centered on the baseless belief that former President Donald Trump was fighting a cabal of Satan-worshipping, child sex trafficking cannibals.
The online community was largely hyped by leftists in the media and political operatives seeking to promote a false narrative about conservative Trump supporters. Their projectionist tendencies have since given rise to the term “BlueAnon.”
Chansley is among more than 650 people charged in the uprising, which forced lawmakers into hiding as they were meeting to certify President Joe Biden’s disputed Electoral College victory. More than 120 defendants have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanor charges of demonstrating in the Capitol that carry a maximum of six months in prison.
Many others have been detained indefinitely for months on end, under brutal, gulag-like conditions that potentially violate their constitutional rights to due process and a speedy public trial.
Chansley and Scott Fairlamb, a New Jersey gym owner sentenced last week for punching a police officer during the attack, have received the longest prison sentences out of the 38 defendants who been punished so far.
Chansley, who has been in jail for 10 months, sought to be sentenced to time served. His lawyer, Albert Watkins, said his client has longstanding mental health problems that were worsened by being held in solitary confinement due to COVID-19 protocols and is in dire need of mental health treatment.
In the year before the Capitol uprising, Chansley appeared in costume at pro-Trump events, protests over face mask requirements and at a gathering of Trump supporters in November 2020 outside an election office in downtown Phoenix where votes from the presidential race were being counted.
His attorney has said Chansley was “horrendously smitten” by Trump and believed like other supporters that Trump had called him to the Capitol, but later felt betrayed after Trump refused to grant him and others who participated a pardon.
Watkins has said Chansley had been under pressure from family members not to plead guilty because they believed Trump would be reinstated as president and pardon him.
After spending his first month in jail, Chansley said he reevaluated his life, felt regret for having stormed the building and apologized for causing fear in others.
He twice quit eating while in jail and lost 20 pounds until he was given organic food.
The judge had previously rejected Chansley’s claims that the six-foot flagpole he carried during the riot wasn’t a weapon and that the metal spear tip was an ornament, saying the sharpened six-inch point could have been used to stab people from a distance.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press