- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 30, 2023

Jan. 6 defendant Jacob Chansley, better known as the QAnon Shaman who wore a buffalo headdress during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, was released early from prison after revelations of exculpatory evidence in previously concealed security video footage.

Chansley’s move took place roughly three weeks after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy released videos showing Chansley being escorted around the Capitol by police on Jan. 6, 2021. The defendant was placed into a halfway house, 14 months before the end of his prison sentence.

His lawyer, though, said the release was part of the Bureau of Prisons protocol — and did not cite the video for his client’s transfer.

Chansley, 35, was sentenced to 41 months in prison after pleading guilty in 2021 to civil disorder and violent entry to the Capitol. His lawyer, Albert S. Watkins, said his client was taken to a halfway house.

“After serving 11 months in solitary before his sentence being imposed, and only 16 months of his sentence thereafter, it is appropriate this gentle and intelligent young man be permitted to move forward with the next stage of what undoubtedly will be a law-abiding and enriching life,” Mr. Watkins said. “I applaud the decision of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in this regard.”

Chansley is set to be released from the Phoenix halfway house on May 25.

A spokesperson from the Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The sentence was cut short after Fox News host Tucker Carlson aired the video of police courteously leading Chansley around the Capitol. The video was provided to Fox News by Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, after the GOP won control of the chamber in the November elections.

Mr. Watkins, though, said the video did not affect his client’s transfer.

Chansley became the infamous face of the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, when a pro-Trump mob of demonstrators stormed the Capitol to block the certification of President Biden’s victory.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia Republican, called Chansley’s release “amazing.”

“I give a lot of credit to Speaker McCarthy for releasing those videos,” she told The Washington Times. “If he hadn’t released those tapes and Tucker Carlson hadn’t put it out, people wouldn’t have seen the truth and I think that played a big role.”

She said he should seek justice for being railroaded into prison.

“I hope he sues everyone that assassinated his character and lied about him,” Ms. Greene said.

Mr. Watkins did not immediately respond to a request for comment on potential future lawsuits on behalf of his client.

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

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide