'QAnon Shaman' Jacob Chansley hasn't eaten in a week and lost 20 pounds in jail because he'll eat only organic food, his lawyer says

qanon shaman jacob chansley jake angeli capitol riot insurrection siege
Supporters of US President Donald Trump including Jacob Chansley, a QAnon supporter known for his painted face, at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
  • Jacob Chansley, aka the "QAnon Shaman," has refused to eat while in jail, his lawyer said.

  • Chansley says that because of his religious beliefs he eats only organic food — and he isn't getting any.

  • The jail system in Washington, DC, denied his request for an organic diet.

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The attorney representing Jacob Chansley, also known as the "QAnon Shaman," said in a court filing on Wednesday that Chansley hadn't eaten in a week and had lost 20 pounds while he refuses to consume nonorganic food in a jail in Washington, DC.

"The Defendant has not been able to consume any food since the commencement of his stay in Washington, DC, being a period in excess of one week," Chansley's attorney, Albert Watkins, wrote, adding, "It is understood the Defendant has lost weight in excess of twenty pounds during the last week."

Chansley, who also goes by Jake Angeli, was arrested after participating in the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6.

Donning war paint, a fur hat, and enormous horns, he stormed the halls and invaded the Senate chambers, elevating his status as an icon of the QAnon conspiracy-theory movement contending that Donald Trump is fighting a "deep state" cabal of Satan-worshipping Democrats.

Watkins argued in the new court filing that Chansley was a legitimate shaman, citing the Wikipedia page for "Shamanism" in a footnote.

He said that Chansley, as part of his religious beliefs, doesn't eat nonorganic food. He asked the court to order the jail to provide him "life sustaining sustenance sought for ingestion" or simply grant him release from jail ahead of his trial.

"Based on Mr. Jacob Chansley's shamanic belief system and way of life, non-organic food, which contains unnatural chemicals, would act as an 'object intrusion' onto his body and cause serious illness if he were to eat it," Watkins wrote. "An 'object intrusion,' is the belief that disease originates outside the body from unhealthy objects coming into the body. In shamanic traditions, the body, mind, and soul are interconnected, and the well-being of all three are necessary for my client to be able to practice his faith."

Read more: 'It was degrading': Black Capitol custodial staff talk about what it felt like to clean up the mess left by violent pro-Trump white supremacists

The filing also includes an inmate request, dated January 27, that Chansley wrote to the District of Columbia Department of Corrections asking for organic food. Chansley wrote that he'd eaten only organic food for the past eight years and hadn't eaten anything at all since January 25.

"I have strayed from my spiritual diet only a few times over the last 8 years with detrimental physical effects," Chansley wrote. "As a spiritual man I am willing to suffer for my beliefs, hold to my convictions, and [feel] the weight of their consequences."

Judge Royce C. Lamberth ordered the jail to give Chansley organic food after a hearing Wednesday afternoon.

Chansley got organic food in a previous jail

Chansley was arrested in Arizona on January 8 on several charges related to his participation in the Capitol riot, where a pro-Trump mob disrupted Congress' counting of the electoral votes to confirm Joe Biden's victory. He's one of more than 230 people who've been charged so far in the Capitol riot.

An Arizona judge denied Chansley bail, saying she had "no confidence" that he'd voluntarily appear in court to stand trial.

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Chansley in the Capitol. AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Ahead of Chansley's bail hearing, his mother told news outlets that he hadn't been eating in the Arizona jail because he'd eat only organic food. The judge ordered the jail to feed him organic food and ordered him to be transferred to a jail in Washington, DC, ahead of his trial.

Read more: What prison food in the US really looks like, and why some inmates refuse to eat it

The DC jail hasn't acceded to Chansley's requests for an all-organic diet. In an email sent to Watkins, Eric Glover, the Department of Corrections' general counsel, said the department's religious-services staff was "unable to find any religious merit pertaining to organic food or diet for Shamanism Practitioner." Glover also denied that Chansley had gone seven days without eating.

But in his filing, Watkins accused the department of denying Chansley organic food and said it was a grave risk to his health.

"The DC DOC, while appropriately following its protocols and procedures, is clearly without capacity to simultaneously follow its protocols and procedures, and traverse the temporal period required to do so, and still garner access to sustenance to feed the Defendant before his physical condition spirals irreversibly into a medical abyss," Watkins wrote.

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Chansley in the Senate chamber. Win McNamee/Getty Images

A representative for the Department of Corrections didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Chansley has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. In the new filing, Watkins suggested that Trump was to blame for the Capitol riot.

"The Government appears, in the case of Defendant herein and other peaceful citizens in like position, to be in the unseemly position of having to prosecute folks for taking heed of the call of the former President, believing the former President's words, and doing that which the former President asked to have done," Watkins wrote.

Watkins also said in the filing that Chansley was "uniquely postured" to help federal prosecutors with their investigations into the insurrection and to help legislators with Trump's impeachment trial.

In a brief filed later Wednesday, federal prosecutors argued against letting Chansley out of jail ahead of his trial.

"The defendant clearly defied the orders of law enforcement officers who were trying to restore order at the Capitol, and indeed escalated the chaos and danger those members of law enforcement," prosecutors wrote. "When faced with the decision whether or not to obey law enforcement, the defendant chose to defy them, and cannot be trusted to follow orders of this Court as a result."

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