the essential This Wednesday 17 November, Jacob Chansley was sentenced to 41 months in prison. Known as “QAnon Shaman”, he participated in the invasion of the US federal building with pro-Trump protesters on January 6.
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The sentence is lighter than that requested by the prosecution, asking 51 months of imprisonment for the “standard bearer” of the rioters. It would have been the heaviest sentence handed down against a participant in the January 6 assault, even though the charges of violence were dropped. Jacob Chansley, 34 years, “has become the very image” of this day of chaos that had shaken American democracy, said Judge Royce Lamberth in pronouncing a sentence of 41 months imprisonment. “What you have done is terrible”, he added, while taking into account the “remorse” of the accused.
Armed with a spear and shirtless, this self-proclaimed “shaman” and adherent to the conspiracy theories of the QAnon nebula had participated in the invasion of Congress with hundreds of supporters of Donald Trump, to prevent elected officials from validating the victory of the Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential election. He walked into the Senate Chamber, sat in the chair reserved for Vice President Mike Pence and left a note saying “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming!” The man from Phoenix, Arizona, was arrested a few days after the incident and has been in detention for ten months. In September, he pleaded guilty to obstructing formal proceedings in federal court in Washington.
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“You screwed up”
This severe sentence “will be enough to deter forever any criminal act of this kind”, explained Wednesday the prosecutor Kimberly Paschall. “Justice will not stand idly by as you attack the peaceful transfer of power.” To explain its severity, she recalled that Jacob Chansley had posted “vitriolic messages” on social media against “corrupt politicians and traitors in government” long before the events of January 6.
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“If the accused had been peaceful, he would not be here today,” she said. “A crowd storming the Capitol with the aim of disrupting the activities of parliamentarians is not peaceful, it is a criminal obstruction,” she explained. Speaking at length to the judge, Jacob Chansley claimed to be “not a dangerous criminal” but to suffer from “personality disorders” that he wants to cure to become a “better man”.
“I am not a violent man, nor an insurgent and certainly not a terrorist. I am just a good man who broke the law”, he explained, assuring to believe “in freedom, the law and the order, and responsibility “. Placed in solitary confinement in prison, he said he had time to look at himself in a mirror to say to himself: “Dude, you really screwed up”. Before his judgment, his lawyer Albert Watkins had assured that Jacob Chansley had since repudiated the QAnon movement and said he was “disappointed” by Donald Trump.
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In total, 664 people have been charged to varying degrees for their participation in the deadly assault, according to the Extremism Research Program at George Washington University. Five people died during or shortly after the attack, including a police officer and a female protester killed by an officer inside the building. In addition, two police officers committed suicide in the days and weeks that followed, without a direct link having been established.
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