QAnon Shaman's '60 Minutes' interview backfired. Judge cites interview when ruling he must remain jailed until trial.

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Erin Snodgrass
·4 min read
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qanon shaman jacob chansley jake angeli capitol riot
Jacob Chansley during the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. Win McNamee/Getty Images

More than two months after the deadly Capitol insurrection, one judge thinks Jacob Chansley, the self-styled QAnon Shaman, still hasn't learned his lesson.

The infamous horned participant of the riot lost his latest motion for pretrial release Monday, according to new court documents that reject Chansley's claims he was a peaceful participant in the fatal siege.

Earlier this month, Chansley gave his first jailhouse interview since his arrest, telling the "60 Minutes Plus" correspondent Laurie Segall that he didn't consider his participation in the insurrection an attack on the United States.

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But Chansley's televised appearance appears to have backfired. Judge Royce Lamberth cited the interview in his Monday decision.

"The statements defendant has made to the public from jail show that defendant does not fully appreciate the severity of the allegations against him," Lamberth wrote. "To the contrary, he believes that he - not the American people or members of Congress - was the victim on January 6th."

In the interview, Chansley said he regretted entering the US Capitol illegally but had thought the move was "acceptable" because police officers had "waved" protesters in - a claim prosecutors have been unable to confirm, according to court records.

Chansley told Segall his actions inside the building were "peaceful" and "calm." The 33-year-old said he "sang a song" inside the chamber and even "stopped somebody from stealing muffins out of the break room."

But legal documents argue Chansley's depiction of events is a mischaracterization of the role he played that day.

"Defendant's perception of his actions on January 6th as peaceful, benign, and well-intentioned, shows a detachment from reality," Lamberth said in the decision.

Chansley is jailed in Washington, DC, facing six charges and up to 20 years in prison over the riot. In addition to accusations that he illegally trespassed as one of the first rioters to breach the Capitol, court records say Chansley also clashed with Capitol police officers, went into the Senate chamber, and left a note on then-Vice President Mike Pence's dais saying "it's only a matter of time, justice is coming."

He later told FBI agents that Pence was a "child-trafficking traitor," referring to a QAnon conspiracy theory, while Chansley's lawyer, Al Watkins, argued in a pretrial-release motion that his client's note for Pence used words that came directly from former President Donald Trump and were not meant as a threat to Pence.

qanon shaman jacob chansley jake angeli capitol riot insurrection siege
Chansley with others during the Capitol insurrection. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

In the aftermath of the Capitol siege, Chansley has become an outspoken critic of Trump, blaming the former president for his participation in the riot and even offering to testify against Trump at his impeachment trial. Though last week, Chansley told CBS News he didn't regret his loyalty to Trump.

As a growing number of riot suspects turn on the former president, Lamberth's Monday decision suggests shifting blame to Trump may not be a reliable defense.

"If defendant truly believes that the only reason he participated in an assault on the US Capitol was to comply with President Trump's orders, this shows defendant's inability (or refusal) to exercise his independent judgment and conform his behavior to the law," Lamberth said.

Though Chansley had no prior criminal history, Lamberth argued that his "blatant disregard" for the law on January 6 made him a danger to the public and that the weight of evidence against him, including photos and video footage of him inside the Capitol, "increases the risk he will flee."

The court documents also cited Chansley's drug use and what it said was a "willingness to lie about that drug use" as further examples of a "willingness to openly break the law."

According to legal documents, Chansley told pretrial services that he used marijuana three times a week and used no other drugs. Yet, Chansley reportedly said on his podcast that he used psychoactive substances and mushrooms as part of his "shamanistic practice."

Lamberth also rejected Chansley's claim in his pretrial-release motion that COVID-19 restrictions had made "meaningful, unmonitored" consultation with his lawyer "impossible."

The judge said the issue was not that Watkins was unable to meet with his client but that when he did, he "squanders" the time focusing on media and interview preparation.

"Such media appearances are undoubtedly conducive to defense counsel's fame," Lamberth wrote. "But they are not at all conducive to an argument that the only way defense counsel could privately communicate with his client is if defendant were temporarily released."

Read the original article on Business Insider