Jake Angeli, who prefers to be known as the “QAnon Shaman,” was one of the most visible rioters at the Capitol earlier this month: shirtless, carrying a spear, and wearing a viking headdress complete with horns, face paint, and a fur coat as he roared throughout the Senate chamber.
Now Angeli wants to testify against the former president he was once “horribly smitten” with, his lawyer told the AP.
Angeli, whose real name is Jacob Chansley, was indicted earlier this month on six counts, including violent entry and disorderly conduct in the Capitol building and obstructing an official proceeding. He’s scheduled to be arraigned Friday afternoon in Washington, D.C.
In a memorandum earlier this month arguing to keep Angeli detained pending his trial, prosecutors also alleged that he wrote a threatening note to former Vice President Mike Pence and left it on the dais, telling him: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” (Prosecutors also said that Angeli “demonstrates scattered and fanciful thoughts, and is unable to appreciate reality.”)
Angeli told VICE News earlier this month he was “not worried at all” about the pending investigation into him. “I’m quite proud of my participation,” Angeli said at the time. “I’d like to think I was an observer of history being made right in front of me.”
Since then, however, Angeli has changed his tune. “He felt like he was betrayed by the president,” Angeli’s attorney Al Watkins, who has also represented the St. Louis gun couple, told the AP. Watkins said in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his client wants to talk about “whether the words of former President Trump were understood by Mr. Chansley to be nothing short of an invitation to go to the Capitol with the President to ‘fight like hell.’”
“If the pending Article of Impeachment has merit, the voice of Mr. Chansley, and the voice of others in like position [sic], must be heard and believed,” Watkins told the Post-Dispatch.
Watkins told the AP that he hadn’t spoken to anyone in the Senate about this plan, and it’s unclear as of yet whether or not any witnesses will be called in Trump’s second impeachment trial. During Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, the Republican Senate majority blocked witness testimony to the consternation of Democrats. But Democrats now have a razor-thin majority—and some have said they don’t need witnesses this time around.
“All of this was in plain view, what the president said, what he’s done,” Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow told CQ Roll Call last week. “We are the witnesses in my book.”
Watkins did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did the office of Rep. Jamie Raskin, the House Democrat who will serve as the lead impeachment manager for Trump’s trial.
Angelo is not the only person charged in connection with the Capitol riots who has blamed Trump for their actions in recent weeks.
An attorney for 20-year-old Emanuel Jackson, a rioter who was charged with five counts including assaulting law enforcement, argued in a recent court filing that “the nature and circumstances of this offense must be viewed through the lens of an event inspired by the President of the United States,” citing the articles of impeachment brought against Trump.
And earlier this week, Garret Miller, a rioter who was additionally charged with making threats to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a Capitol police officer in posts online, released a statement through his attorney in which he apologized and pinned the blame on Trump for his conduct.
“While I never intended to harm Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez nor harm any members of the Capitol police force, I recognize that my social media posts were completely inappropriate,” the 34-year-old Miller told VICE News in a statement. “They were made at a time when Donald Trump had me believing that an American election was stolen.”