Trump ‘Shaman’ gets early release
January 6 rioter Jacob Chansley, also known as the ‘QAnon Shaman’, has been granted early release from federal prison and transferred to community confinement in Arizona, officials announced on Thursday.
The 35-year-old was sentenced to 41 months’ imprisonment in November 2021, after pleading guilty to one count of obstruction of an official proceeding for his involvement with the January 6 US Capitol riots earlier that year.
After serving 27 months of his sentence, Chansley was transferred on Tuesday from Arizona’s Federal Correctional Institution Safford to a halfway house overseen by the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Phoenix Residential Reentry Management Office, a spokesperson told Business Insider.
Chansley’s attorney during the trial, Albert Watkins, welcomed his former client’s release, saying in a statement to the news outlet: “It is appropriate that 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.”
The change for the ‘QAnon Shaman’ comes after Fox News host Tucker Carlson devoted a section of his show earlier this month to present previously unaired surveillance footage from the Capitol riots. Carlson has claimed that the videos contradict the official ‘violent insurrection’ narrative propagated by Washington and instead show that the protesters, on the whole, acted peacefully. Chansley could also be seen in the footage peacefully walking through the Capitol building with a police escort.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk had also demanded Chansley’s release, claiming that he “was falsely portrayed in the media as a violent criminal who tried to overthrow the state.” Musk shared videos of Chansley peacefully walking around the Capitol, thanking the police and encouraging his fellow protesters to “go home.”
Chansley was one of nearly 1,000 people arrested in connection with the riot, 306 of whom were charged with obstructing an official proceeding, according to Justice Department figures.
The January 6 Capitol riots stemmed from allegations made by former President Donald Trump that the 2020 election had been stolen from him by the Democratic Party through the use of fake ballots and voter fraud. Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol building during a joint session of Congress in an attempt to stop the final Electoral College vote count that would formalize the victory of Joe Biden.