'QAnon Shaman' Gets Out of Prison Early

Jacob Chansley is now in a halfway house in Arizona
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2023 1:04 PM CDT
'QAnon Shaman' Released From Prison Early
In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, Jacob Chansley, right, is confronted with others by US Capitol Police officers outside the Senate chamber.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Perhaps the most recognizable of all the Capitol rioters has been released from prison months early. Jacob Chansley, aka the "QAnon Shaman," has been transferred from a federal prison to a halfway house in Phoenix, reports CBS News. Chansley, 35, received a sentence of 41 months in November 2021 after pleading guilty to obstruction. He is scheduled to be released from the halfway house on May 25. In images from inside the Capitol building the day of the riot, Chansley's horned headdress and face paint famously set him apart, notes the Hill. No reason was specified for the early release, though inmates are able to shave time off their sentences with good behavior.

"After serving eleven months in solitary prior to 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," said his attorney, Albert Watkins. Chansley himself had denounced his actions at his sentencing, calling them "indefensible." Earlier this month, Tucker Carlson of Fox News put Chansley back in the spotlight when he shared previously unreleased footage from the Capitol riot. The video showed Chansley at one point walking around the Capitol with a group of officers and prompted the defense attorney in a separate Jan. 6 case to request that his client's case be thrown out.

As part of their response, federal prosecutors disputed Carlson's assertion that the video showed that Chansley was a peaceful participant in the unrest. "Chansley was not some passive, chaperoned observer of events for the roughly hour that he was unlawfully inside the Capitol," prosecutors wrote in a court filing earlier this month, per CNN. "He was part of the initial breach of the building; he confronted law enforcement for roughly 30 minutes just outside the Senate Chamber; he gained access to the gallery of the Senate along with other members of the mob (obviously, precluding any Senate business from occurring); and he gained access to and later left the Senate floor only after law enforcement was able to arrive en masse to remove him." (More Jacob Chansley stories.)

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