Judge denies release for Jake Angeli, Phoenix man who raided Capitol wearing horned hat

A federal judge denied a request Monday to release from custody Jake Angeli, the Phoenix man whose elaborate tattoos, face paint and horned fur hat made him one of the signature figures of the Jan. 6 raid on the U.S. Capitol.

Judge Royce Lamberth said in his ruling that he heard no new information in a hearing last week that would compel him to revisit his March order that Angeli be held while awaiting trial on six federal charges relating to the incursion on the Capitol.

On Jan. 6., Congress was meeting in a joint session, presided over by then-Vice President Mike Pence, to officially certify the election of President Joe Biden and the defeat of former President Donald Trump.

Angeli and scores of others stormed the buildings in what became a mob takeover that sent lawmakers scrambling for safety. Angeli, in footage captured by a journalist with The New Yorker, strutted into the U.S. Senate chamber, posed for pictures on the dais and left a note for Pence.

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"It's only a matter of time," the note said. "Justice is coming!"

Angeli was wearing the outfit he had usually worn at rallies and protests in the Phoenix area since at least 2019: bare-chested and showing off elaborate tattoos, face paint and a signature fur hat with horns and tails that draped around his face.

Angeli also carried a spear and a sign that read: Q Sent Me. Angeli was a loudly vocal adherent to the QAnon conspiracy theory that imagined a government insider was posting cryptic hints about government corruption on obscure bulletin boards. At its core, believers thought the poster, known by the name Q, was hinting Trump was about to order mass arrests of world leaders for crimes against children.

Aware his image was being circulated by law enforcement seeking his whereabouts after Jan. 6, Angeli called the FBI the day after the raid. He went to FBI headquarters in Phoenix after his drive back for what he thought would be a continuation of questioning. Instead, he was arrested. His horned hat, which was in his car, was confiscated.

Jake Angeli, who supports QAnon, chants during a rally to open the state at Wesley Bolin Plaza in Phoenix on May 3, 2020.
Jake Angeli, who supports QAnon, chants during a rally to open the state at Wesley Bolin Plaza in Phoenix on May 3, 2020.

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Angeli, who was charged under his legal name Jacob Chansley, has since been held in what his defense attorney said was solitary confinement, which has done damage to his mental well-being.

Angeli was transported to a Colorado facility in June to undergo a court-ordered screening to determine whether he would be mentally fit for trial.

Lamberth said that nothing presented by Angeli’s attorney, Albert Watkins, in his motions or oral arguments constituted evidence that would have a “material bearing,” the legal standard, on his decision to hold Angeli.

Key in that, Lamberth wrote, was his March finding that Angeli posed a flight risk because he has shown an ability to travel across the country despite not having a job.

During the hearing, Watkins argued that a new detail being given to the court was that many of Angeli’s relatives live in the Phoenix area, providing an extensive support system.

The judge wrote that he was not convinced.

“As (Angeli’s) family connections have not prevented him from traveling undetected in the past,” the judge wrote in his ruling, “the Court is unpersuaded that they will prevent him from doing so again in the future.”

In court, Watkins said that Angeli traveled to D.C. in a car with one other person and that an unnamed person gave him $500. Angeli, Watkins told the court, has provided the name of that person to the FBI.

Watkins also told the judge during the hearing that he had arranged possible housing for Angeli in St. Louis, though he didn’t want to give details about it in the public setting. But, Lamberth wrote, in the days that followed the hearing, Watkins did not provide him with any more details.

“Without information on the arrangements that have been made,” Lamberth wrote, “the Court is unable to assess whether this release plan would reasonably assure (Angeli’s) appearance as required.”

The report from the mental health evaluation of Angeli was expected soon, Watkins told the court last week.

Watkins has argued in court filings that Angeli has “mental vulnerabilities” that made him especially receptive to Trump’s political speeches, taking them as commands to act.

Watkins was more pointed in an interview with Talking Points Memo, saying that Angeli and other clients facing charges from their actions on Jan. 6, were “short bus” people.

“These are people with brain damage,” he said in an interview.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Release denied for Jake Angeli, 'QAnon Shaman' who raided US Capitol