Capitol rioter 'QAnon Shaman' pleads guilty, disappointed Trump didn't pardon him

A photo from Jan 6, 2021, showing Jacob Chansley, dubbed the "QAnon Shaman", and other rioters inside the US Capitol in Washington. The man has been diagnosed with transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety. PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The US Capitol rioter nicknamed the "QAnon Shaman" is disappointed former United States president Donald Trump did not pardon him, his defence lawyer said on Friday (Sept 3) after the man pleaded guilty to taking part in the Jan 6 unrest.

Jacob Chansley, of Phoenix, Arizona, was photographed inside the Capitol shirtless, wearing a horned headdress and heavily tattooed. He has been held without bond since his arrest shortly after the riot, and on Friday entered a guilty plea to obstructing an official proceeding.

While in detention, Chansley underwent mental examinations and was diagnosed by prison officials with transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.

Nearly 600 people have been arrested over the attack on the Capitol where Congress was meeting to certify Mr Joe Biden's November victory over Mr Trump. Earlier, Mr Trump had given a fiery speech falsely claiming his defeat was the result of fraud.

While the felony charge Chansley pleaded guilty to carries both a maximum 20-year prison term and a fine of up to US$250,000 (S$335,300), prosecutor Kimberly Paschall indicated that the maximum sentence the government was likely to request would be much shorter.

Chansley had been a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory that casts Mr Trump as a saviour figure and elite Democrats as a cabal of Satanist paedophiles and cannibals.

Although he did not get a pardon from Mr Trump, Chansley's defence lawyer Albert Watkins said "there will always be a soft spot" for Mr Trump in Chansley's heart.

At Friday's plea hearing, Mr Watkins asked Judge Royce Lamberth to allow Chansley to be released from prison pending a sentencing hearing, scheduled for Nov 17. The judge said he would consider this request.

Mr Watkins noted that prosecutors had acknowledged Chansley was "not a planner or organiser" of the riot.

The lawyer later told reporters that Chansley had cooperated with Jan 6 investigations and gave information about a group he saw stealing classified materials from a Senate office.

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