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'QAnon Shaman' who stormed Capitol in horns should spend 51 months in prison, prosecutors say

Jacob Chansley is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 17. He pleaded guilty in September to a single federal charge of felony obstruction of an official proceeding.
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Jacob Chansley, known as the QAnon Shaman, at the Capital, on Jan. 6, 2021.Brent Stirton / Getty Images file

Jacob Chansley, the Jan. 6 rioter who became known as the ‘QAnon Shaman’ after he stormed the U.S. Capitol shirtless, wearing horns on his head and bearing a pole with a spear tip, should serve more than four years in prison, according to a sentencing memorandum. 

Prosecutors submitted the memo Tuesday night, recommending the court hand down a sentence of 51 months, followed by three years of supervised release and $2,000 restitution. Chansley’s sentencing is set for Nov. 17. 

“The prosecutor’s recommendation supports the proposition that the Government remains willfully delusional about the role in the events of January 6 of a young, gentle man with zero criminal history and long standing mental health vulnerabilities. It is shameful,” his attorney, Albert Watkins, told NBC News early Wednesday.

Chansley was one of the most high-profile people who broke into the Capitol as Congress met to certify the vote count of the Electoral College in the 2020 presidential election. Images of him wearing face paint and a furry horned and feathered hat while baring his tattooed chest were widely circulated.

“Defendant Chansley’s now-famous criminal acts have made him the public face of the Capitol riot,” prosecutors wrote. 

They said he used social media to spread “false information and hateful rhetoric” that encouraged rioters to descend upon the Capitol. 

Chansley was also among the first 30 rioters inside the Capitol that day, according to prosecutors. 

Once inside and confronted by Capitol Police officers who instructed him and others to leave, he used “his bullhorn to rile up the crowd and demand that lawmakers be brought out.”

Chansley made it into the Gallery of the Senate, where he screamed obscenities, scaled the chamber’s dais and took the seat that then-Vice President Mike Pence had occupied an hour earlier, according to prosecutors.

“He proceeded to take pictures of himself on the dais and refused to vacate the seat when asked to do so by law enforcement,” the government said.

In a note left on a piece of paper on the dais, prosecutors said he wrote, “It’s Only A Matter of Time. Justice Is Coming!”

“Armed with a six-foot long spear, the defendant brazenly marched past dozens of law enforcement officers, with rioters throwing debris of all kind at those who opposed them, past broken windows and through doors ringing with alarm bells," prosecutors wrote.

They noted that after the riot, Chansley showed "no remorse" and spoke triumphantly about the siege to the press.

“The fact that we had a bunch of our traitors in office hunker down, put on their gas masks and retreat into their underground bunker, I consider that a win,” he said in an interview with NBC News the day after the riot.

Chansley was arrested on Jan. 9 in Phoenix, Arizona. He pleaded guilty in September to a single federal charge of felony obstruction of an official proceeding.

Chansley was an adherent to QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory, whose followers back Donald Trump and believe Democrats and other rivals of the former president promote child sex trafficking.

So far in the Department of Justice investigation into the Capitol breach, the department has brought charges or indictments against 650 defendants. Of those, at least 90 have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and at least 15 have pleaded guilty to felony charges, the sentencing memorandum said.