‘QAnon Shaman,’ Capitol rioter who wore horns, hires new lawyers

WASHINGTON — The Arizona man known as the “QAnon Shaman” has hired new lawyers who say they are considering appealing his conviction after he was sentenced to prison for storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. 

The man, Jacob Chansley, who wore face paint and a horned, furry hat at the Capitol riot, was sentenced last week to 41 months in prison, one of the longest sentences handed down so far. 

Chansley’s new lawyers said in a statement Monday that he will be “pursuing all remedies available to him under the Constitution and federal statutory law with respect to the outcome of the criminal prosecution of him by the United States Department of Justice.”

That would include a possible “direct appeal” of his conviction and his sentence and claims of “ineffective assistance of counsel,” said the lawyers, who are affiliated with the National Constitutional Law Union, a nonprofit founded by John Pierce, a conservative lawyer. 

Pierce, who represents 26 other Jan. 6 defendants and once represented Kyle Rittenhouse, is one of Chansley’s new lawyers, and a second lawyer, William Shipley, will join the case, the statement said.

Pierce drew attention over the summer when he missed several court hearings in his Jan. 6 cases, instead sending an associate in his place. The associate, who was not licensed to practice law, said Pierce was in the hospital with Covid-19.

Prosecutors filed a notice that they had been unable to reach Pierce and that his clients were essentially without counsel. He eventually showed up and filed a notification that he had been in the hospital for 12 days; he did not confirm the reason for his hospitalization. 

Chansley gave up most of his rights to appeal when he agreed in September to plead guilty to a count of obstruction of an official proceeding. Claiming ineffective assistance of counsel would be one of his few options under the plea agreement. 

To prove such a claim, Chansley would have to show that his former lawyer, Albert Watkins, failed to competently represent him and that lack of competent representation had a direct impact on the result of his case. 

Watkins did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

He said at a previous hearing that Chansley no longer wanted to be known as the “QAnon Shaman.” QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory whose followers back former President Donald Trump and believe Democrats and other rivals of Trump promote child sex trafficking.

Chansley expressed remorse at his sentencing hearing, saying his behavior was “indefensible.”  

“I was wrong for entering the Capitol,” he told the judge. “I have no excuse. No excuse whatsoever.”

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