The icon of the assault on the Capitol already knows his sentence. The image of Jacob Chansley, bare-chested, wearing bison horns like a Western trapper and armed with a megaphone and an American flag, whose colors adorned his face, went around the world on January 6. Today he has been sentenced by a federal judge in Washington to 41 months in prison for those acts.
This 34-year-old actor with a past in the Navy was immediately dubbed “the shaman of QAnon”, and became a symbol of the attack and the penetration of the wildest conspiracy theories among the extremist sectors of the followers of Trump. The still president summoned thousands of them that day to a rally in Washington, in front of the Capitol. The harangue on the alleged electoral theft, an allegation on which there was no evidence, led to the assault, which offered the image of a country on the edge whose democracy was seen, in a live broadcast to the whole world, embarrassingly in trouble.
The prosecutor had requested a greater sentence of 51 months. The attenuated sentence had to do with Chansley pleading guilty in September to obstructing an official proceeding: the Senate certification of Joe Biden’s triumph. He was one of the first to break into the chamber. And once inside the building, he placed himself at the head of the mob, giving away photogenic poses left and right. He took the podium, where a few moments before Vice President Mike Pence had been leading the session. The shaman of QAnon even left a note, according to the summary, which said: “It is only a matter of time, justice will fall on you.” Pence became the black beast of Trumpism in those days, for refusing to give in to pressure from the tycoon to stop Biden’s appointment as the 46th president of the United States.
Chansley has not disappointed in these 10 months the promise of his extravagant breakthrough in the circus of fame. First, his lawyer asked Trump to pardon his client, just days after he was arrested. And later, he offered to testify against the former president in his second and unsuccessful impeachment.
In February, the QAnon shaman made headlines after getting a judge to force the Virginia jail, where he has served most of his sentence so far, to serve him a diet of organic food. A month later he gave an interview to 60 minutes, a whole CBS news institution in prime time in which he alleged religious reasons to justify his actions that day. While in detention, prison medical officials diagnosed him with transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.
His appearances before the judge have not disappointed either: he cited Jesus Christ as well as Supreme Justice Clarence Thomas or the prison drama Life imprisonment, starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. “The worst of all is being aware of my guilt. To look at myself every day in the mirror and think: ‘you really screwed up everything,’ he declared during the process. “I was in solitary confinement because of me. By my decision. I broke the law … I should do what Gandhi would do and take responsibility. That’s what honorable men do. “
Join now EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits
So far, investigations into the attack on the Capitol have led to some 30 court cases. The first to be resolved came last week, when the owner of a New Jersey gym was sentenced to the same sentence as Chansley (41 months) for punching an agent, an assault that, like the rest of the six hours that the events lasted, it was immortalized by hundreds of amateur and professional cameras.
Four people died in the assault. A member of the Capitol Police who had been attacked by protesters died on January 7 and four other officers from the District of Columbia who participated in the defense later committed suicide.
Subscribe here to the newsletter from EL PAÍS América and receive all the informative keys of the current situation of the region