UPDATE 2/3 4:11 ET p.m.: A federal judge in Washington, D.C., granted an emergency request from “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley’s lawyer that he begin receiving organic food in jail.
In a brief hearing Wednesday, Chansley told the judge that his religious beliefs require him to eat only organic food. Chansley and his legal team told the judge that appropriate food should be labeled “USDA Organic” and would be available at most grocery stores.
The judge asked whether this was a sincere religious belief. Chansley’s lawyer said it was.
Officials at the D.C. Department of Corrections are not serving the QAnon Shaman organic food—and he’s refusing to touch anything else. As a result, he’s lost 20 pounds after not eating for over a week, his lawyer wrote in a legal filing Wednesday.
Embattled conspiracy theorist Jacob Chansley, who’s facing federal charges for his role in the storming of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, is urging his jailers to serve him food that aligns with his self-proclaimed shamanistic faith—which he says is an all-organic diet.
“I am humbly requesting a few canned organic vegetables—canned tuna (wild caught)—or organic canned soups,” Chansley, 33, wrote to prison officials in a letter on January 27. “I have strayed from my spiritual diet only a few times over the last 8 years, with detrimental physical effects.”
Chansley’s request for organic food was initially granted by his jailers in his home state of Arizona after his arrest. But he’s since been transferred to a facility in Washington D.C., and those officials have been far less accommodating.
They informed Chansley’s lawyers that there seems to be no substance to the idea that devout believers in shamanism only eat organic food. As a result, they’re not about to make it happen.
Chansley’s lawyers wrote that he believes that “non-organic food, which contains unnatural chemicals, would act as an ‘object intrusion’ onto his body and cause serious illness if he were to eat it. An ‘object intrusion’ is the belief that disease originates outside the body from unhealthy objects coming into the body.”
Religious staffers at the Washington D.C. Department of Corrections were “unable to find any religious merit pertaining to organic food or diet for Shamanism practitioner,” Eric Glover, general counsel for the DOC, responded in a terse email dated Tuesday, February 2.
If officials won’t serve him organic food, then the judge should let Chansley out on bail, his lawyer wrote.
Chansley has emerged as one of the most high-profile defendants charged in connection with the Capitol siege, thanks to his famous headdress of horns and fur. His legal team has blamed former President Trump for inciting the crowd to storm the building, and said Chansley wants to testify against Trump at his looming impeachment trial, set to begin February 9.
Prosecutors have called Chansley a flight risk and insisted that he 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,” prosecutors wrote in a January filing asking the judge to deny him bail. “He is a flight risk due to this combination.”