A Phoenix man who entered the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 breach wearing a hat with horns, face paint, and no shirt, lost his third attempt to be released from jail.
A judge ruled Tuesday that Jacob Chansley, who is sometimes described as the “QAnon shaman,” shouldn’t be released because his attorneys have not provided any new information that would assure authorities he wouldn’t flee.
Chansley’s attorney, Albert Watkins, argued the judge’s original decision was “erroneous,” lacked evidence, and was based on “inaccuracies.” The lawyer also argued that Chansley should be released because the flagpole that he was carrying on Jan. 6 wasn’t a “dangerous weapon,” which is what the court previously read.
Watkins also claimed in court that Chansley was a peaceful protester and not the leader of a riot. Chansley’s lawyer further argued that his client has relatives other than his mother who had lived in Phoenix for years.
But Judge Royce Lamberth for the United States District Court in the District of Columbia said family ties don’t alleviate concerns about him being a potential flight risk.
“As Chansley’s family connections have not prevented him from traveling undetected in the past, the court is unpersuaded that they will prevent him from doing so again in the future,” Lamberth wrote.
Watkins also noted that other individuals who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, including one who allegedly assaulted an officer and another who was allegedly seen sitting in then-Vice President Mike Pence’s seat in the Senate, were released from jail pending trial.
Lamberth earlier this year ordered Chansley to undergo a psychological evaluation after his mental health was called into question.
However, remaining in jail until trial, Watkins argued, is detrimental to Chansley’s mental health.
“The pre-existing mental vulnerabilities of the Defendant were evident and patent at the time of his shirtless presentation on January 6, 2021, in the cold of a Washington, D.C., winter day. The acuity of the vulnerable Defendant has waned with each passing day of solitary confinement. The effects of same, like ivy, have slept, crept and now leapt,” Watkins said in a court filing.
Also in the filing, Watkins compared Chansley’s solitary confinement amid the COVID-19 pandemic was akin to punishments meted out by the communist Khmer Rouge that terrorized Cambodia in the late 1970s, as well as the Soviet Union’s methods of punishment against Russian anti-communist writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
Solitary confinement, the lawyer said, is sending “a message that if you are special enough to believe and act with reliance on the words and actions of your standing Commander-in-Chief, you deserve neither compassion nor patience, but rather, deserve the fate of the forgotten.”
Chansley has been jailed since his arrest nearly six months ago. Previously, he’s apologized for his actions.