‘QAnon Shaman’ Sentenced to More Than 3 Years in Prison for Capitol Riot

Jacob Chansley “made himself the very image of the riot,” the judge who sentenced him said.
Jacob Chansley, aka the QAnon Shaman,' inside the US Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)​
Jacob Chansley, aka the QAnon Shaman,' inside the US Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Jacob Chansley, the “QAnon Shaman” also known as Jake Angeli, was sentenced to more than three years in federal prison Wednesday. 

Chansley’s sentence comes more than 10 months after Chansley—wearing a Viking hat, wielding a spear, and with red, white, and blue paint all over his face and body—participated in the riot at the Capitol, where he briefly took over the Senate dais and “made himself the very image of the riot,” as the judge who sentenced him put it. 


Judge Royce Lamberth of the D.C. District Court handed down the 41-month sentence more than two months after Chansley pleaded guilty to a single count of obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress. Chansley was facing a maximum sentence of more than four years in prison, and has already spent 317 days in pretrial detention this year, which Lamberth said will count toward time served.

“What you did was terrible,” Lamberth told Chansley. “You made yourself the center of the riot.”

Both Chansley and his lawyer, Al Watkins, referenced Chansley’s diagnosis of various mental illnesses during their remarks Wednesday. 

Speaking before the court ahead of his sentencing, Chansley said that while in solitary confinement he pondered what Gandhi and Jesus would do, and he quoted Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and businessman Max De Pree. “You can help yourself understand problems by asking yourself questions,” Chansley said, attributing the quote to De Pree. 

“I believe in freedom,” Chansley said during a half-hour-plus statement, which referenced his stepfather’s suicide, his and Lamberth’s shared experience of being in the military, and the more than 100 hours he’s spent getting tattooed. 


“But I also believe in law and order. And in order for law and order to exist, those things have to be practiced with responsibility and accountability,” he said. “If the law is broken and there’s no punitive action, there’s no point in having the law.” 

Lamberth, a Reagan appointee, called Chansley’s remarks “heartfelt” and compared them to those of Martin Luther King Jr., but said he couldn’t justify reducing the sentence below the minimum that prosecutors asked for. 

“The serious nature of the crime itself does not lead to my ability really to think that I could depart downward,” Lamberth told Chansley. 

Prosecutors admitted during the hearing Wednesday that Chansley had not committed any acts of physical violence during the riot. But Chansley admits to leaving a note on the Senate dais where Vice President Mike Pence had presided, which read: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” 

Chansley has since renounced the QAnon movement, for which Lamberth previously said Chansley served as a “mascot,” and his support of former President Donald Trump. Watkins, his lawyer, offered Chansley up as a potential witness in Trump’s second impeachment trial earlier this year, though he was ultimately not called to testify. 

Chansley said he was “truly, truly repentant” for his conduct on Jan. 6 and derided some of those who’ve also been detained at the D.C. jail (and asked for release due to poor conditions) for acting “like they're in the Holiday Inn.”

“I am not an insurrectionist. I am certainly not a domestic terrorist,” Chansley said. “I am a good man who broke the law.”

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