by Jonathan Turley
If there is one image from Jan. 6th that will remain indelible with the day, it is the “QAnon Shaman.” Bare chested and wearing an animal headdress, horns and red-white-and-blue face paint, Jake Angeli Chansley is to the Capitol riot what Rosie the Riveter was to World War II. Howling and “chanting an unintelligible mantra” on the Senate floor, he is the embodiment of the unhinged rage that led to one of the most disgraceful attacks on our constitutional process in history.
However, the newly released Fox footage from that day raises serious questions over the prosecution and punishment of Chansley. The videotapes aired on Tucker Carlson this week show Chansley being escorted by officers through the Capitol. Two officers appear to not only guide him to the floor but actually appear to be trying to open locked doors for him. At one point, Chanseley is shown walking unimpeded through a large number of armed officers with his six-foot flag-draped spear and horned Viking helmet on his way to the Senate floor.
It is otherworldly footage. While I admit that I approach these stories from the perspective of a long-standing criminal defense attorney, I would be outraged if I was unable to see such evidence before a plea or sentencing. At no point in the videotapes does Chansley appear violent or threatening. Indeed, he appears to thank the officers for their guidance and assistance.
Before addressing the legal implications of this footage, one thing should be clear. The public should have been given access to this footage long ago and the Jan. 6th Committee withheld important evidence on what occurred inside the Capitol on that day.
While it is understandable that many would object to Carlson being given an exclusive in the initial release, many in the media are denouncing the release of the footage to the public at all. The press and pundits are now opposing greater transparency in resisting any contradiction of the narrative put forward by the Jan. 6th Committee. Indeed, MSNBC’s Jason Johnson angrily objected that this is “federal evidence” — ignoring that it is evidence that was denied to criminal defendants.
This is not just material that the public should be able to see, it was potential evidence in criminal cases like that of the QAnon Shaman.
When the footage aired, I wrote a column raising the question of whether this evidence was known to or shared with Chansley’s defense. After all, he was portrayed as a violent offender by the Justice Department at his sentencing.
It now appears that the answer is no. I spoke with Chansley’s new counsel, Bill Shipley, and confirmed that defense counsel did not have this material.
In the hearing, federal prosecutor Kimberly Paschall played videos showing Chansley yelling along with the crowd and insisted “that is not peaceful.”
That portrayal of Chansley would have been more difficult to maintain if the Court was allowed to see images of Chansley casually walking through a door of the Capitol with hundreds of other protesters and then being escorted by officers through the Capitol. At no point is he violent and at no point is he shown destroying evidence. Instead, he dutifully follows the officers who facilitate his going eventually to the unoccupied Senate floor.
We all knew that Chansley was treated more harshly because of his visibility. It was his costume, not his conduct, that seemed to drive the sentencing. In the hearing, Judge Royce Lamberth noted, “He made himself the image of the riot, didn’t he? For good or bad, he made himself the very image of this whole event.”
Lamberth hit Chansley with a heavy 41-month sentence for “obstructing a federal proceeding.”
However, the QAnon Shaman was led through the Capitol by officers. Defense counsel could have noted that his “obstruction” in going to an unoccupied Senate floor was facilitated by officers. While the police were clearly trying to deescalate the situation after the Capitol was breached, this is evidence of how Chansley came to the Senate. Indeed, his interaction with officers could have impacted how he viewed the gravity of his conduct. It certainly would have been material to the court in sentencing the conduct.
In his rambling sentencing statement to the court, Chansley apologized for “a lot of bad juju that I never meant to create.”
I have great respect for Judge Lamberth, who has always shown an admirable resistance to public pressure in high profile cases. I cannot imagine that Lamberth would not have found this footage material and frankly alarming.
At first blush, this would appear a clear “Brady violation” when a prosecutor fails to provide a defendant with any evidence that is favorable or exculpatory to his case. Like most things in Chansley’s life, it is a bit more complex than it would seem.
First, Chansley quickly pleaded guilty to the charge. This may have been due in part to the draconian treatment that he received by the Justice Department, which insisted on keeping him in solitary confinement with no apparent justification. The result is that he moved rapidly to sentencing without significant discovery in his case.
He was doing nothing wrong. He was escorted throughout the capital by capital police. He was forced into a plea deal and sentenced to 41 months in prison.
The vast majority of those incarcerated are innocent and should be immediately released.
The judges involved in this travesty of justice should all be impeached
He was a whooping costumed lunatic carrying a spear, surrounded by a mob of like-thinking Capitol invaders. OF COURSE he was “escorted around”. You expected cops to attempt to take him into custody and remove him at that point?
The j6 narrative has fallen apart. There was no insurrection. The was a fedsurrection
The 100 or so cops who got the crap beaten out of them for hours while Trump did nothing might give you an argument on that.
Gary miller troll alert
You don’t think there’s anything wrong with beating up cops? Nothing wrong with smashing windows of a federal building? Nothing wrong with ransacking offices? You don’t think there’s anything wrong with perpetuating a Big Lie that incited the riot on January 6th?
We know now that’s not what happened.
J6th was a Fed sponsored false flag meant to install an unelected Joe Biden into our White House.
Not surprised the same corrupt agencies released another troll to do some damage control on FA.
You people are shitting yourselves.
You should be.
It’s very wrong. Has anyone be prosecuted for smashing windows or kicking in doors? All we’ve seen is people who did nothing violent… sometimes were not even in the Capital, given harsh sentences but I haven’t seen any prosecutions for the leaders of mob. I wonder why not? Could they all be FBI/Democrat assets?
What offices were “ransacked”?
There was no violence at all until the Capital Police opened up on the peaceful crowd with rubber bullets, gas and flashbang grenades. In fact, because of the wind, they actually gassed themselves.
You mean like BLM/ANTIFA did to a federal courthouse in Seattle? I think it is terrible and should be harshly punished. However, I’ve never heard you or any other leftist denounce it.
Hey, Tommy Boy, why aren’t you responding to my questions? Did you catch gutlessness from Greg?
That’s a Gary Miller sockpuppet…he’s banished.
Meh. It’s nothing compared to left-wing violence.
Hell, your loyal little antifa thugs are still attacking cops.
Read’em and weep, son.
You people committed treason against the United States of America
I don’t remember any outrage from you, Greg or any other leftist when BLM/ANTIFA laid siege to DC in the summer of 2020. None of you were upset at the over 180 officers that suffered assaults, cuts, burns, concussions at the hands of violent leftist thugs. When leftist rioters tried to burn down an historic church, NOTHING from the left. There was a violent assault on the White House itself but no leftists did nothing but express support for the terrorists.
And there have been no prosecution of those insurrectionists. Does this upset you? Is that “wrong”?
Trump only had one way to communicate with any of the protesting mob; Twitter. But Twitter suspended his account as he requested peace and order. What was the point of that, do you think? How was “peacefully go and make your voices heard” an incitement of violence?
You haven’t any particle of a clue. Useful Idiot First Class.
Nah. He was a staged prop for a deep state coup.
Cops didn’t get beat up? Windows weren’t smashed? Offices weren’t ransacked? Are you a drunk? You live in a dream world.
Nah. We watched everything from cops provoking in the tunnel to opening doors to embedded feds to antifa camera men.
You’re bullshit narrative is destroyed, pig.
So why didn’t any of the crowd of officers around him, outnumbering him 9 to one, arrest him? According to you, he represented a clear and present danger, so why didn’t one of the cops just shoot him? Apparently, that is acceptable, since you all cheer Michael Byrd shooting a tiny, unarmed woman on the opposite side of an oaken door because he was “skeert”, so why didn’t Shaman get shot dead on the spot, dragged off and immediately cremated, like they did with everyone else that died related to January 6th?
We saw video of him alone with no one but cops. Why didn’t they take him into custody and hustle him out of the area? When will you answer my questions?
Yes, if he posed any danger with his spear as you describe it he should have been arrested on the spot, funny how he never threatened any of the officers.
Ignore Mercer aka Gary Miller and a hundred other fake names. Just the unhinged Miller up to his old tricks. He’s obsessed with this blog.
Ah…I smelled something.
Apparently Greg stepped in something and tracked it in.
To be honest, that’s not exactly true. He was in the Capital building when there was a ring of police positioned to keep people out. So, he got in there somehow. Beyond that, from what we’ve seen, he did NOTHING anywhere near worthy of over 4 years in jail, when you include his solitary pre-trial confinement.
By ANTIFA standards, he should have been immediately released, charges dropped, all his accoutrements returned to him and transportation to the next riot provided as taxpayer expense. Hell, rioters in NYC are being monetarily compensated for a police response to their violence!
It was of little importance to the left for Chansley to go to jail. In the first place, Democrats don’t care about people, they care about power. Providing Chansley with the evidence he was Constitutionally entitled to would have exposed some of the lies the Democrats were presenting to create their “violent insurrection” narrative. No matter how many people die or suffer prison based on their suppression of evidence and obstruction of justice, the goal to destroy Trump, the actual goal, overrides it all.
We have seen numerous times vile criminals, even murderers, released from custody and charges dropped because of minute violations of Constitutional or civil rights. As disgusting as this is, we usually all accept it as a law enforcement f**k up that shouldn’t have happened. Why doesn’t this same criteria apply to the January 6th prisoners? If they were legitimately guilty of prison-worthy crimes, why hide any of the evidence? It is the EVIDENCE that puts them in jail, not the accusation. But, the left has to depend solely on the accusation.
Chasley should be released and all those who have been calling for his imprisonment and even death should take his place.
If the footage actually showed an insurrection they would have released the entire load and demanded MSM show it.
We have Assholes demanding the first amendment be violated, censorship, just who do they think they are?
Mitch, the 1st amendment a mistake. Well they dont have it in China, right Mitch?
(He is in hospital he fell down)
Schumer, self proclaimed King demands, orders, insists from the Ivory tower this exposure of 2 years of lies be halted.
It isnt just the costumed attention seeking Whore..
A compromised FBI agent took the stand yesterday at the Proud Boys trial to testify for the prosecution. It was revealed in cross-examination that FBI Agent Nicole Miller had intercepted strategy notes between Defendant Zachary Rehl and his former Defense Attorney, Jonathan Moseley… and clearly intended to continue violating Client-Attorney privileges to aid the prosecution before trial.