The former lawyer for Jan. 6 protester Jacob Chansley, commonly known as the QAnon Shaman, derided federal prosecutors on Tuesday, saying recently released video footage of his client being escorted through the U.S. Capitol by police was never disclosed to the defense and is nothing less than “a dagger in the heart of the justice system.”
“The video depicts Chansley walking through the Capitol, police escorting him around, trying to get him into the [Senate] chamber,” attorney Al Watkins said. “It’s indicative of the government gone amok.”
Video of Chansley, recognizable for his painted face as well as buffalo horns and fur headdress, walking calmly through the Capitol without being stopped or even questioned was shown Monday on Fox News.
The video was part of more than 40,000-plus hours collected by the Democrat-dominated Jan. 6 Committee in the House but never previously released. Newly installed House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., gave the video to Fox News.
Watkins said prosecutors had an obligation to disclose the video to him, which they never did.
“The footage was not received by us,” said Watkins, who added he maintained copious records. “It was a right taken away from Jake. How can I put what the options are if I don’t know what evidence the government has.”
Chansley pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding in November 2021 and was sentenced to 41 months in prison after prosecutors asked that he be punished to the maximum 51 months as “emblematic of a barbaric crowd,” CNN reported at the time.
“The court has to be upset,” Watkins said, referring to U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, who imposed the sentence. “The government tried to portray him as a leader, leading the charge, threatening, an imposing person with a flag and flagpole, inciting others, when clearly this [video) is demonstrative of quite to the contrary.
“I hope everyone, everyone, realizes this damages all of as Americans, not just Jake. This ruins it for everyone.”
Watkins said he is no longer Chansley’s attorney, but would be a witness if his current lawyer, who he said was John Pierce, wanted to petition the court.
Pierce did not immediately return an email or phone message left with his office. The Department of Justice did not return a message left through its website.
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