- The Washington Times - Friday, March 10, 2023

Twitter CEO Elon Musk called for the release of Jan. 6 inmate Jacob Chansley, who was convicted and sentenced in November 2021 to a 41-month jail sentence for one felony count of obstruction of an official proceeding.

Best known as the fur- and horn-helmeted “QAnon Shaman,” Mr. Chansley was portrayed immediately after the attack on the U.S. Capitol as a dangerous figure who burst into the Senate chamber with his bullhorn.

“Free Jacob Chansley,” Mr. Musk quote-tweeted above a tweet of a resurfaced video of Mr. Chansley outside the capitol doors on Jan. 6, 2021. Mr. Chansley is telling protesters to listen to President Trump, who had tweeted that he wanted everyone to leave the Capitol grounds peacefully.

In a subsequent tweet, Mr. Musk said, “Chansley got 4 years in prison for a non-violent, police-escorted tour!?” He noted, “Dave Chapelle was violently assaulted on stage by a guy with a knife. That guy got a $3000 fine & no prison time.”

“Everybody go home. We made our points,” Mr. Chansley told the crowd through his bullhorn. He went on to read Mr. Trump’s tweet that implored the crowd to go home.

“I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue,” Mr. Chansley read, before telling the crowd to back away from the Capitol door.

Prosecutors claimed that although Mr. Chansley was never accused of violence, he was the “public face of the Capitol riot” who went into the attack with a weapon, a flagpole topped with a spear tip.

Mr. Chansley, who faced decades in prison, ultimately agreed to a plea deal. Before his sentencing, he said he was not an insurrectionist and took issue with how the media portrayed him following the riot.

However, new footage aired by Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson seems to back up Mr. Chansley’s assertion. He entered the Capitol through an open door on the Senate side with a group of people.

From there, he is seen being escorted towards the empty Senate chamber by the Capitol Police, who already had evacuated lawmakers and staff. According to Mr. Chansley’s former attorney Albert Watkins, he never was given access to the security footage broadcast by Fox.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth handed down the 41-month sentence in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He also sentenced Mr. Chansley to three years’ probation when he is released.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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