‘There at president's invitation’: Lawyer for ‘QAnon Shaman’ gives ‘bizarre’ interview comparing Trump to cult, asks for pardon
In what CNN anchor Chris Cuomo described after the fact as a “bizarre” interview, attorney Al Watkins joined his show to put the blame for events at the US Capitol last week on the president and compared him to Jim Jones, a cult leader who led a mass suicide-murder of his followers in 1978.
After an audio glitch forced Cuomo to head to a commercial break, Watkins returned by phone and pushed back against the anchor who had opened the segment by calling his client a “fool.”
Capitol riot suspect Jacob Chansley, known as the "Qanon shaman," is asking for a pardon from President Trump, saying he believed Trump had invited him to enter the Capitol, says his attorney.My client "felt he was answering the call of our President," says Albert Watkins. pic.twitter.com/iccAp5sRDO— Cuomo Prime Time (@CuomoPrimeTime) January 15, 2021
“It’s really important we should stop calling people fools because we have a large percentage of our population who spent a great deal of time in their lives hanging on every word of President Trump,” Watkins said.
According to Watkins, his client did not “break into” the Capitol, but walked through doors being held open by police and was “not armed” – though he was wearing horns and a “metal spear” that had signs and the American flag attached to it at various points.
“He felt like his voice was for the first time being heard,” Watkins said of his client’s support for the president.
It would be “peaceful” and “honorable,” according to the attorney, for Trump to pardon his client, as well as other like-minded and non-violent protesters who entered the Capitol on the day which saw five deaths, including that of a police officer.
Watkins said Chansley acted on “a driving force by a man he hung his hat on, he hitched his wagon to, he loved Trump – every word, he listened to him. He felt like he was answering the call of our president – he was there at the invitation of our president.”Also on rt.com Court hears ‘QAnon shaman’ hasn’t eaten since arrest over Capitol riot, mom says non-organic food makes him sick
He added that Trump needs to “own” people like his client and then went into a strange comparison between supporters of the president and followers of Jones’ cult.
“In 1978 a whole bunch of people in San Francisco followed a guy by the name of Jim Jones down to Jonestown, Guyana,” Watkins began before Cuomo cut in.
“It was a cult!”
“The only difference here,” Watkins argued, “there’s no Kool Aid,” referring to the fact that many of Jones’ followers died from ingesting Kool Aid containing cyanide.
Chansley, whom Watkins says is a “genuine shaman” who “practices yoga” and “meditates all day long,” is currently being held in federal lockup in Phoenix, Arizona and is awaiting charges for his role in the US Capitol siege.Also on rt.com Horned ‘QAnon shaman’ Capitol invader arrested on federal charges as law enforcement cracks down on rioters
In contrast to Watkins’ defense of his client, prosecutors have argued that Chansley should remain in detention and, in a court filing this week, that his own “actions and words” have led them to believe rioters wanted to “capture and assassinate elected officials” when they stormed the Capitol.
According to the detention memo, Chansley allegedly left a note for Vice President Mike Pence at the Capitol that warned “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” They have also alleged that Chansley suffers from drug abuse and mental illness issues.
“Chansley has spoken openly about his belief that he is an alien, a higher being, and he is here on Earth to ascend to another reality,” prosecutors wrote.
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