‘Qanon Shaman’ Pleads Not Guilty to Capitol Riot Charges

The Donald Trump supporter who wore a coyote-skin headdress into the Senate chamber and called himself the “QAnon Shaman” pleaded not guilty to a series of charges stemming from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Jacob Chansley entered his plea Friday at an arraignment in federal court in Washington. He is facing charges including violent entry, disorderly conduct and obstruction of an official proceeding.

Images of Chansley at the Senate dais and elsewhere around the Capitol were among the most widely circulated from the insurrection. But his lawyer, Albert Watkins, has sought to portray Chansley as non-violent and truly spiritual. In court on Friday, Watkins called his client “a man of faith in shamanism, a longstanding faith.”

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth seemed genuinely curious about Chansley’s spiritual convictions. “Tell me a little more about the religion,” the judge asked Watkins at one point. “I don’t know a thing about it.”

Watkins also asked Lamberth to help ensure that Chansley receives organic food in jail as he awaits trial. When he eats non-organic food, Watkins said, Chansley experiences a “debilitating” bacterial response, resulting in dehydration.

Chansley’s arraignment came a day after a bail hearing for another high-profile Capitol rioter. U.S. District Judge Beryl Howard on Thursday excoriated Richard Barnett, a 60-year-old from Arkansas who was photographed with his feet on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, ordering him to remain in custody.

“We’re still living here in D.C. with the consequences of the violence in which this defendant is alleged to have participated,” the judge said. “I can still see heavily armed National Guard troops patrolling from my window.”

So far, law enforcement officials have charged more than 150 people for their roles in the Capitol riot. Most of the defendants face relatively minor charges like trespassing and disorderly conduct and have been released pending trial.

The case is U.S. v. Chansley, 21-cr-00003, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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