One of the features of the insurrection of January 6th was the tough talk of the people invaded the Capitol building with weapons in what seemed, at least on the part of some, to be an effort to take congresspeople hostage. But as soon as they were arrested, they started to whine about how they have been so misunderstood and that they were not armed insurrectionists who planned to take over the government and prevent the certification of Joe Biden as president but were merely ordinary people only doing only what the president wanted them to do.
The latest person to join this sorry spectacle was the cosplayer known as QAnon Shaman, the guy in the ridiculous makeup and wearing a fur and horns. You may recall that in one video, he proudly sat in the chair that is used by the president of the Senate and made a speech and then led a grandiose prayer for the other rioters in the room. But he is now turning on Trump and asking for mercy saying that he is a poor innocent who was misled by Trump.
With the possibility of a presidential pardon off the table, St. Louis attorney Al Watkins is lining up his client’s defense strategy
Watkins is representing perhaps the most recognizable figure from the unrest – Jacob Chansley, 33, also known as the ‘QAnon Shaman’.
“Let’s roll the tape. Let’s roll the months of lies, and misrepresentations and horrific innuendo and hyperbolic speech by our president designed to inflame, enrage, motivate,” said Watkins. ” What’s really curious is the reality that our president, as a matter of public record, invited these individuals, as President, to walk down to the capitol with him.”
Watkins said President Trump’s inaction was a wake-up call for some, including his client.
“He regrets very very much having not just been duped by the President, but by being in a position where he allowed that duping to put him in a position to make decisions he should not have made,” said Watkins. “As to my client, the guy with the horns and the fur, the meditation and organic food…I’m telling you that we cannot simply wave a magic wand and label all these people on Jan. 6 the same.”
It turns out that Chansley was previously booted out of the Navy for refusing to take the anthrax vaccine.
This kind of defense strategy, if successful, seems as if it would open Trump up to all kinds of criminal and civil suits for his part in the insurrection. His defense would likely be that the president (at the time) is protected from such suits. So we might get treated to the spectacle of his lawyers arguing that former presidents cannot be impeached because impeachment only applies to sitting presidents, then turning around the next month and arguing that they can’t have any other remedies pursued against them either. Call it the “Presidents really can incite someone to kill a policeman on Fifth Avenue and get away with it” defense strategy.
I very much wonder what kind of legal action we might see out of the Sicknick family in the next few weeks, though…
Anyone presenting this defence (regardless of how successful or otherwise it might be) ought to be immediately barred from holding public office, any employment in any public-service role (police officer, security guard, waiter, barman, shop assistant, call centre worker), access to any form of financial credit for any purpose, access to any kind of firearm for any reason, access to gambling services of any kind, access to bladed objects without an accompanying adult, and have any licences they hold to hunt, fish or drive a motor vehicle immediately withdrawn permanently, as by even attempting to deploy this defence they are explicitly admitting that they are gullible, irresponsible children who can’t be trusted with grown-up responsibility. I’d suggest sterilising them for good measure, but that might come across as a bit eugenics-y.
He was just following orders.
Marcus Ranum says
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
“Give me liberty or a reduced sentence!”
“Wait, what? Give me liberty or a presidential pardon!”
“Give me liberty or I’m going to whine endlessly on the internet.”
Meanwhile, every citizen journalist in China knows they’ll disappear inside a brutal prison if they post, yet they keep reporting the facts.
Reginald Selkirk says
Blame is not zero-sum. His defense strategy seems to be that Trump is guilty of incitement. I don’t see how that clears his client of anything.
It is rather surprising to me how much of the tough stance of, say, those who aspire to be right-wing domestic terrorists, is just performative.
When people post photos of themselves with their armament collections, which must have cost thousands of dollars, saying that they won’t be messed with and it’s time for the blood of patriots and for them to take back their country, etc., I naively take them seriously.
Then, a lot of it turns out to be fantasy, and it seems like even I might have more stomach for some kind of action than they do. It’s just surprising.
But then, there are those who do manage to accomplish some kind of violence, often serious violence, so you never can know.
His attorney’s circumlocution and rhetorical distancing is a real treat: “He regrets very very much having not just been duped by the President, but by being in a position where he allowed that duping to put him in a position to make decisions he should not have made.” It’s all rather simple, see: He was in a position from which he was duped into another position. Naturally, this was so confusing that he suddenly found himself shirtless inside the Capitol, clad only in paint, horns, and fur. This he regrets not just very much, but very very much.
And what does he actually regret? Being duped and allowing the duping to put him “in a position to make decisions”? What about regretting his decisions and actions to break the law, damage property, threaten safety, and attack the peaceful transfer of power? How can anyone who is without malicious intent be “duped” into doing such things? For that you’d have to be a passive cipher without the power of independent thought.
What happened to the popular conservative refrains of “Stop playing the victim,” “suck it up, buttercup,” “snowflake,” “actions have consequences,” “elections have consequences,” etc.? They are very tough and unforgiving when it comes to others, but when it comes to themselves, they are hapless victims who mysteriously find themselves in a position to be duped.
John Morales says
Not exactly a victimless crime.
Copied from the “Political Madness” thread at PZ, by SC:
[I don’t think SC would mind]