Capitol Hill' QAnon Shaman' rioter wants to testify against Trump, lawyer says
Lawyer compares Trump's mob to 'middle school students being jazzed before a big game by their coach'
The story theorist who stormed the U.S. Capitol wearing a fur hat and horns is prepared to testify at his Senate impeachment trial against former U.S. President Donald Trump, says his counsel.
One of at least four individuals facing federal charges related to the Jan. 6 riot, Jacob Chansley, a lifelong Trump supporter from Arizona known as the "QAnon Shaman," is one of at least four individuals who say that the former president inspired them to act that day.
"My client was, just like tens of thousands of others, just like the high school students being jazzed up by their coach before a big game on a Friday night," Chansley's lawyer, Albert Watkins, told Carol Off, host of As It Happens.
He said that this does not justify the actions of his client, but "does, however, mitigate that culpability."
On Feb. 8, on charges to incitement of rebellion, Trump faces his second Senate impeachment hearing.
In impeaching him, the United States The House of Representatives reported that the former president caused his supporters to take control of the U.S. With his provocative rhetoric and frequent misleading assertions that he, indeed, won the latest presidential election, Capitol building on Jan. 6.
"The president, in a very propaganda-ridden series of words, basically put my client and tens of thousands of others in a position of genuinely believing that they were being invited by the president to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol to save our great country," Watkins said.
During the confusion and violence that day, five people were killed. One was a police officer from Capitol Hill. The abuse was later condemned by Trump and some of his supporters have disputed that he was responsible.
'The man behind the fur and the horn'
Chansley is a well-known figure at Trump rallies and a complicated and wide-ranging conspiracy theory among those who subscribe to QAnon, which paints Trump as the hero fighting against an evil cartel of Democrats and Hollywood elites who operate a global pedophile ring and drink children's blood.
He is currently behind bars on charges of civil disturbance, obstruction of an official proceeding, disruptive activity in a restricted building, and protest in a building at the Capitol. He is due to be arraigned in Washington on Friday.
Prosecutors said that Chansley went into the Capitol successfully demanding his imprisonment pending trial, bearing a U.S. flag tied to a wooden pole topped with a spear, defied the orders of an officer to leave, went into the Senate chamber and wrote a threatening note to outgoing vice president Mike Pence.
Chansley's lawyer argued when pressed about those allegations that his client was "peaceful" during the riot, and that "the spear is not a functional spear."
"He's a longstanding and committed follower of the shaman faith. This is his attire. It is something that he wears and has worn at not just at Trump rallies, but over the course of his adult life," he said.
"You have to get to know the man behind the horn and the fur."
Watkins said he did not talk at the impeachment trial to any member of the Senate about making his client testify. But he's saying that it's important for senators to hear from someone who's been inspired by Trump.
"[Trump] is charged with inciting insurrection. In order to prevail in a legal action of that nature, you have to demonstrate that, in fact, the state of mind of the incited was such that they felt the president had been responsible for them taking those steps that they took," he said.
Watson also states the early stages of disentangling himself from QAnon are Chansley's. He says his client feels cheated without offering pardons to him and the others suspected of storming the Capitol after the former president left office.
"I can tell you that my client's process of deprogramming is not one which is complete," the lawyer said.
"We all are deprogrammed when we're betrayed, whether it's our first love of our life, or whether it's the mail man with our significant other, it doesn't matter. The betrayal is something that requires a process, a process to reconcile. My client is in the middle of that process."
On the eve of his arraignment, an attorney for Jacob Chansley, the so-called "QAnon Shaman," said he's ready to turn on former President Donald Trump.
The 33-year-old is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds for his role in the unrest.