Albert Watkins, the attorney representing Jan. 6 defendant Jacob Chansley, known as the "QAnon Shaman," told Newsmax Monday that his client is having to deal in prison with the diagnosed mental health issues he suffers even though the government has acknowledged he wasn't a leader on that day.
"This is despite the fact the government has now for the first time come forward and acknowledged that Mr. Chansley was not leading the insurrection," Watkins said on Newsmax's "National Report." "He wasn't a planner. He wasn't trying to overthrow the government, and he wasn't violent," Watkins said.
Last week, the attorney said Chansley is negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors after prison psychologists at the federal Bureau of Prisons have diagnosed him with several mental health issues.
Watkins said the BOP's findings suggested his client's condition deteriorated due to the stress of being held in solitary confinement at a jail in Alexandria, Virginia. The federal report has not yet been made public.
About a month ago, the Justice Department has ordered him transferred to a federal prison in Colorado to undergo a forensic evaluation, NBC's Scott MacFarlane reported at the time.
But Watkins argued Monday that the U.S. government has known about Chansley's issues since 2006 and that he was diagnosed while he was serving in the U.S. military.
"(He is) subject to bipolarity depression, anxiety, learning disabilities that are not learning disabilities that preclude him from being extraordinarily bright," said Watkins. "These conditions and personality traits are blown out of proportion and blossom when he is subjected to what's called socio-stressors from things (like being) in solitary confinement for an indefinite period."
Watkins added that it is troubling that the government knew about Chansley's military background and had access to his medical records but "chose to ignore them."
The Bureau of Prisons "did a great job" of evaluating Chansley, Watkins said, with the diagnosis going to the culpability issue behind his actions on Jan. 6.
"The government tried to brand Mr. Chansley, a peaceful individual like everyone else, peaceful individuals as insurrectionists and violent as somehow being a threat to our nation to overthrow the government with a plan," said Watkins. "No, that was not the plan. They weren't trying to do that. They weren't violent. And in the case of Jake, you've got the government actually putting Jake, a peaceful guy with no criminal history at all, in a position of being absolutely mentally infirm because of the actions of the government."
And that, Watkins said, is a "tragic thing."
"The constitution allows certain constitutional rights, and when you put a guy or a gal into shock (with) solitary confinement indefinitely, even with the strongest mental condition they're going to fall into the abyss," said Watkins.
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Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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