Arizona’s ‘QAnon Shaman’ Agrees to Plea Deal in Capitol Breach

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
September 3, 2021 Updated: September 3, 2021

The so-called “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley has agreed to a plea deal for his role in the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol, with a hearing set for Friday morning, according to a court filing.

Chansley will appear before Judge Royce C. Lamberth for a plea agreement hearing, according to a docket entry in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The Arizona man was seen shirtless at the Capitol building on Jan. 6, wearing a distinctive hat with horns. He told a U.S. Capitol Police officer and an FBI agent the following day that he traveled to Washington because Trump called for all “patriots” to go there to protest as Congress met in a joint session.

A criminal complaint alleges Chansley “wilfully and knowingly entered or remained on the floor of a House of Congress or in any cloakroom or lobby adjacent to that floor, without authorization to do so.”

Chansley, 33, was arrested in January and charged with a six-count indictment with civil disorder, disorderly conduct, and obstruction of an official proceeding, among other counts. The details of his plea agreement with government, including which charges he is pleading guilty to, are yet to be made public.

In a news release this week, Chansley’s attorney, Albert Watkins, said that Chansley, in the months following the Capitol breach, 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.”

Watkins said that Chansley has “repudiated” his beliefs in the QAnon conspiracy theory.

The attorney previously disclosed last month that Chansley was recently diagnosed by Federal Bureau of Prisons psychologists with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses.

Jacob Chansley, center, and other protesters are seen inside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Manuel Blace Ceneta/AP Photo)

In a previous interview, Watkins told The Epoch Times that the conditions Chansley is facing in prison are “gulag-like treatment.”

“His mental health and emotional well-being are significantly challenged,” Watkins said. “He was not violent or destructive in any manner. He was not armed. He did not threaten. There is no end in sight. His only reliable unmonitored contact with the outside world is his attorney—me. He is alone.”

Nearly 600 protestors have been charged in connection with the Capitol breach so far, many of whom have remained in custody without bail.

In an interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes Plus” in March, Chansley said that his actions “were not an attack on this country.”

“That is incorrect. That is inaccurate entirely,” he said. “I sang a song and that’s a part of Shamanism. It’s about creating positive vibrations in a sacred chamber.”

“I also stopped people from stealing and vandalizing that sacred space, the Senate. I actually stopped someone from stealing muffins out of the break room. I also said a prayer in that sacred chamber because it was my intention to bring divinity, to bring God back into the Senate,” he added.

He claimed that police officers “waved” him into the Capitol building on Jan. 6.

“That is the one very serious regret that I have, was believing that when we were waved in by police officers that it was acceptable,” Chansley said.

Watkins has said that he will hold a virtual press conference following the hearing at 2 p.m. EST.

Allan Stein contributed to this report.

Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.