One of the most recognizable participants in the Jan 6. insurrection at the U.S. Capitol will plead guilty Friday in federal court, his lawyer said Thursday.
Jacob A. Chansley, who appeared in pictures and on video wearing a horned headdress, face paint and furs and carrying a 6-foot pole with an American flag, is currently facing six counts including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. His lawyer, Albert Watkins, did not specify the terms of Chansley's plea in a statement Thursday.
The scheduled change of plea also appeared on the court docket Thursday.
Prosecutors have said Chansley was one of the first rioters in the building. He disobeyed a Capitol Police officer’s order to leave and sat in a seat in the Senate vacated by Vice President Mike Pence just minutes before, leaving a note saying, “it’s only a matter of time, justice is coming,” they said.
Watkins has said Chansley who was nicknamed the "QAnon Shaman," was answering the call of then-President Donald Trump for "patriots" to come to Washington and then go to the Capitol. Watkins said Chansley suffers from mental illness and believed Trump's bogus claims of election fraud.
On Thursday Watkins said in a statement that Chansley was repudiating the "Q" attached to his name, referring to the widely discredited and false QAnon conspiracy theory that suggested mysterious forces were opposing Trump but would be defeated.
“The path charted by Mr. Chansley since January 6 has been a process, one which has involved pain, depression, solitary confinement, introspection, recognition of mental health vulnerabilities, and a coming to grips with the need for more self-work. It is imperative that patience and compassion be accorded those, who like Mr. Chansley, were non-violent, peaceful and possessed of genuine mental health issues which rendered them more vulnerable to the propaganda of the day but who, at the end of day, seek to be accountable for their actions,” said Watkins in the statement.
Watkins unsuccessfully sought a pardon for Chansley from Trump before accusing Trump of betraying those among his followers who stormed the Capitol.
Chansley is one of four Capitol defendants represented by the Clayton lawyer.