Jacob Chansley, the so-called "QAnon Shaman," will continue to be a symbol of the Jan. 6 clash at the Capitol, especially after pleading guilty to one charge in connection with the events of that day, but his attorney, Albert Watkins, argued on Newsmax Tuesday that his client is actually a "harmless" person who wants to be accountable for his own actions.
"Jacob is extricating himself from a long and tortured path, which has involved mental health issues," Watkins said on Newsmax's "John Bachman Now." "In fact, Jacob wants to be accountable. Jacob wants to stand up and own his actions, but he wants to do it within the context of the reality that he is, and has been for a long time, diagnosed with mental health vulnerabilities that the government has been aware of since 2006."
Chansley, of Phoenix, Arizona, last week pleaded guilty to charges of obstructing an official proceeding. His image became infamous after he was photographed inside the Capitol shirtless and wearing a furry, horned headdress and carrying a spear.
He's been held without bond since his arrest, and after undergoing mental examinations in prison, he was diagnosed as having transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety.
Watkins on Tuesday said that because of Chansley's appearance on Jan. 6, he will never be able to hide from his role as a symbol of the events of that day.
"This is not a man who can hide from miles of video showing him in the wrong place, at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing," said Watkins.
However, Chansley is "harmless" and "he was not and is not the violent type of person the government is trying to make him out to be ... he is inextricably blamed forever for the events of Jan. 6," said Watkins. "When we see pictures of Jan. 6, any story about any aspect of that day, there's a picture of Jake."
But Chansley, "because he won the best costume contest that day, somehow, some way, he is this evil bad guy," said Watkins. "In fact, he's gentle. He's kind. He's helpful to law enforcement. He has mental health issues. He's aware of that now."
Watkins also argued that the legal system is not equipped to handle someone like Chansley, and needs to "regroup" on how to treat people with mental health issues.
Chansley could get up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, but the prosecutor in the case said the government will likely request a much shorter sentence.
Watkins, though, said Chansley should not be put in isolation to serve out his sentence, as that is not how to treat a person with the mental health issues that his client has.
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