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November 18, 2021

QAnon Shaman Sentenced for J6 Rioting

Jacob Chansley, “the public face of the Capitol riot,” received a stunningly stiff sentence yesterday.

“I am in no way, shape or form a violent criminal,” said Jacob Chansley, the so-called QAnon Shaman of January 6 infamy. “I am not an insurrectionist. I am certainly not a domestic terrorist.”

As if that needed to be said. Only a vindictive congressional Democrat like Nancy Pelosi — a hyper-partisan House speaker desperate to hang onto power and committed to keeping alive the events of January 6 for as long as possible — would believe otherwise. This, after all, is Jacob Chansley, the cartoonish character with the Viking hat and the horns, and the handle of a broadsword tattooed just above his nether regions. Does he really look like the brains of an “armed insurrection”? Does Pelosi really believe our nation’s government was inches away from being overthrown?

At his sentencing hearing yesterday, Chansley, a Navy veteran who apparently suffers from a personality disorder, went on to speak for some 30 minutes about his guilt, and about how remorseful he was. Along the way, he mentioned Jesus Christ and Mahatma Gandhi as his heroes and spiritual guides.

DC Circuit Judge Royce Lamberth, an appointee of Ronald Reagan, took it all in, commended Chansley’s repentance, and called his remarks “the most remarkable I’ve ever heard.” And then he sentenced him to 41 months in prison.

Forty-one months? That ties the longest sentence yet for a Capitol rioter. And for what? For walking into the Capitol, chatting with the cops, shouting a few obscenities into a bullhorn, and leaving a “justice is coming” note for Vice President Mike Pence? Prosecutors were gunning for 51 months, calling Chansley “the public face of the Capitol riot.”

The official charge is “obstructing an official proceeding,” which is a felony and a serious offense. Chansley is one of the first of the J6 defendants to be sentenced under that charge. Clearly, he’s being made an example, and others so charged must be wondering what awaits them.

As independent journalist Julie Kelly reports: “In a heartfelt plea to Lamberth, Chansley asked for mercy, explaining the trauma he endured during 10 months in solitary confinement. He said he suffered from starvation, isolation, and depression that was exacerbated by the death of his grandfather while he was behind bars.”

No dice. Lamberth said what Chansley did was “horrific” and “terrible,” and that while he believed Chansley had indeed changed and was apologetic, he wouldn’t budge because of the “serious nature of the crime itself.”

Chansley’s sentence, which fell on the lower end of the sentencing guidelines, will be followed by three years of probation. Judge Lamberth said that Chansley will get credit for the 10 months he’s already served since his arrest in January. “You didn’t slug anybody,” Lamberth said, “but what you did here was obstruct the functioning of the whole government.”

As Kelly continues:

Chansley, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, a felony applied to at least 220 Capitol protester cases. The post-Enron law was not intended to be used against political protesters; this is the first time the U.S. Department of Justice has charged political protesters with the felony count, which is publishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Chansley turned himself in to law enforcement on January 11; he since has spent 317 days in jail, nearly all in solitary confinement. Lamberth twice denied Chansley’s release and again ordered him to remain incarcerated after his September plea agreement.

[U.S. Attorney Kimberly] Paschall admitted in court that Chansely did not destroy any property or assault a police officer but claimed his conduct was “not peaceful.” Contrary to allegations contained in the government’s filings, Chansley walked through an open door on the east side of the building and spoke with Capitol police, who told Chansley and others that “we’re not against … you need to show us … no attacking, no assault, remain calm.”

As free-thinking independent journalist and one-time leftist Glenn Greenwald put it: “He got 41 months in prison, after already spending 10 months in solitary confinement. Only a sick, punitive society imprisons non-violent protesters for years in harsh conditions — or one that regards particular ideologies as inherently criminal.”

That’s really it, isn’t it? The two-tiered justice of it all. Were Jacob Chansley a Democrat-approved thug from antifa or Black Lives Matter — or better yet, one of the hundreds of rioters who burned cars and smashed storefronts in DC in 2017 during President Donald Trump’s inauguration — he’d have received a slap on the wrist or had his charges dropped altogether by the Department of Justice. You think we’re exaggerating? Look it up.

“I was wrong for entering the Capitol,” Chansley said. “I have no excuse. No excuses whatsoever. My behavior was indefensible. Number two: I may be guilty of this crime. But I’m not a dangerous criminal. I’m not an insurrectionist. I’m a good man who broke the law.”

According to data from the Justice Department, 695 people have been arrested and charged with crimes tied to the January 6 riot at the Capitol. Many still haven’t had their day in court. So much for their 6th Amendment right to a speedy trial by jury.

Updated to include a reminder that the Bill of Rights is still a thing in this country.

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