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Mr Chansley, who infamously wandered the halls of the United States Capitol in face-paint and an animal headdress, was arrested in January on six federal charges, including violent entry and disorderly conduct. He has pleaded not guilty.
He is currently being held at the Alexandria Detention Center in Virginia, but the Justice Department has ordered him transferred to a federal prison in Colorado for a “forensic evaluation,” according to NBC’s Scott MacFarlane. He is expected to leave later this week.
Albert Watkins, Mr Chansley’s lawyer, has repeatedly used mental health arguments to defend his client. He has said Mr Chansley is autistic, and that he believed he was obeying former president Donald Trump’s orders when he entered the Capitol.
He also maintains that throughout the riot, Mr Chansley’s actions were peaceful.
“He was not violent. He did not assault. He did not steal or destroy while he was in the Capitol,” Mr Watkins told Reuters.
Last month, US District Judge Royce Lamberth ordered that a “psychological examination be conducted” on Mr Chansley, and that he be moved to a “suitable facility for a competency examination.”
If Mr Chansley’s lawyers can prove that he is not mentally competent, they may save him from serving a lengthy prison sentence, but he would likely be treated at a hospital within a federal prison.
Mr Watkins has argued that Mr Chansley was one of millions of Trump supporters who the former president “groomed” to do his bidding.
“For years during the Trump administration, the President honed and routinely utilized his mass communication means to effectively groom millions of Americans with respect to his policies, protocols, beliefs and overwhelming fixation on all matters conspiratorial,” the lawyer wrote in February.
Some experts, however, doubt that this argument will work in court.
“If anything, it is an admission to criminal conduct,” Jay Town, a former federal prosecutor, told Reuters. “While this ineffective tactic may help with headlines, it will not help the fate of any defendant.”