In between taking selfies on the floor of the Senate and using a bullhorn to call for the assassination of several congresspeople, Jacob Chansley, aka the QAnon Shaman, took time out of his busy insurrection schedule to write a message to Vice President Mike Pence.
“It’s only a matter of time. Justice is coming,” Chansley said in the threatening note, quoting directing from a message posted last September by the anonymous leader of QAnon.
This revelation was contained in a court filing in Arizona, where prosecutors are arguing that Chansley, who also goes by the name Jake Angeli and believes he’s an alien, should not be allowed out on bail because of threats he’s made to attend next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Chansley last week told VICE News that he “regrets nothing” and was planning to travel back to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20.
But now a lawyer representing Chansley is calling on President Donald Trump to pardon his client, claiming the QAnon icon only entered the Capitol because he was following directions from the president.
“My client had heard the oft-repeated words of President Trump,” Albert Watkins told VICE News in an email.
“The words and invitation of a president are supposed to mean something. Given the peaceful and compliant fashion in which Mr. Chansley comported himself, it would be appropriate and honorable for the president to pardon Mr. Chansley and other like-minded, peaceful individuals who accepted the president’s invitation with honorable intentions.”
Moments before the pro-Trump mob descended on the Capitol, Trump told his supporters, in a speech in front of the White House, that “we will walk down to the Capitol” and “together we will drain the Washington swamp, and we will clean up the corruption in our nation’s Capitol.”
Trump was this week impeached for “willfully” making statements “that encouraged lawless action at the Capitol” and Chansley’s legal team is clearly hoping to leverage that to get their client a pardon.
The court filing describes in detail Chansley’s actions once he entered the Capitol.
Prosecutors say Chansley committed a felony because he was carrying a deadly weapon into the building. That weapon was a six-foot spear, complementing the rest of his costume, which included horns, a furry coyote tail headdress, red, white, and blue face paint, and tan pants.
The shirtless Chansley, whose torso is covered in tattoos of symbols linked to the white supremacy movement, was also carrying a bullhorn, which the filing says he used to rile up the crowd inside the building.
“Chansley approached [Capitol Police] Officer [Keith] Robishaw and screamed, among other things, that this was their house, and that they were there to take the Capitol, and to get Congressional leaders,” the affidavit said.
“Chansley also used his bullhorn to communicate that they were there to take out several United States congressmen.”
Defending his client on CNN on Thursday night, Watkins called Chansley a “gentle, soft-spoken human being. He is not a violent man.”
But prosecutors say Chansley is a flight risk and poses a danger to the public. “He is unhinged from reality, while his actions at the Capitol demonstrate a willingness to act on those mistaken beliefs,” the filing reads. “He is a flight risk due to this combination.”
During an interview with the FBI on Jan. 9 in Phoenix, Chansley told agents that he planned to drive to the Arizona State Capitol. To prove his point, he showed them his costume that he had in his car, which now included a “rubber hammer-shaped mallet.”
A pretrial Services (PTS) report submitted on Jan. 11 recommended that Chansley should be granted bail, even though it recognized he posed a flight risk.
However, the prosecutors argued in Thursday’s filing that Chansley had lied to the PTS officer when he said that he had never tried any other drugs than cannabis. The prosecutors pointed to a litany of freely available online records of Chansley admitting to routine use of psychedelic drugs, such as mushrooms and peyote — including on his own podcast called “Jake Angeli — Keys for our Ascension.”
The prosecutors also argued that Chansley’s mental health had not been properly assessed by the PTS. As well as being an adherent to the QAnon conspiracy theory, Chansley has openly admitted to “his belief that he is an alien, a higher being, and he is here on Earth to ascend to another reality.”
Chansley’s bail hearing is scheduled for Friday afternoon.