More adventures of QAnon shaman and friends

The ridiculous figure known as QAnon shaman whose real name is Jacob Chansley and is now in jail for his role in the January 6th insurrection, has lost his latest attempt to be released from jail, this time on (wait for it) religious grounds.

According to court documents, a lawyer representing the 33-year-old Chansley — who also led others in prayer as they occupied the U.S. Senate chamber during the insurrection — asked in February that his client be released from prison while he awaits trial in part because of complications derived from his refusal accept a vaccine for COVID-19.

The request involved Chansley’s religious beliefs, which borrow from conspiracy theories and several religious traditions: The attorney claimed his client’s “longstanding status as a practicing Shaman precludes him from feeding into his body any vaccination.” The request noted that Chansley was removed from the U.S. Navy in 2007 for refusing to take a vaccine for anthrax.

Chansley’s refusal to be vaccinated, combined with various COVID-19 protocols in place at prisons where he is being held, have made “meaningful un-monitored communication” with his attorney impossible, the lawyer claimed.

But U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth flatly rejected Chansley’s request on Monday (March 8), dismissing several of his lawyer’s arguments — including religious ones.

“To put it plainly, defendant’s religious objection to the COVID-19 vaccine is not a relevant reason, let alone a ‘compelling reason,’ to grant his temporary release,” Lamberth wrote in the 32-page opinion.

The interview Chansley’s lawyer arranged for him to with 60 Minutes+ is also working against him.

The judge was unmoved by the argument that Chansley is unable to speak to his lawyer. Lamberth pointed out that both Chansley and his lawyer appeared in a recent, nationally televised interview with “60 Minutes,” where they communicated via video chat.

“The issue … is not that defense counsel cannot confidentially communicate with client,” Lamberth wrote. “The issue is that when defense counsel is able to speak with his client, he squanders the opportunity for private conversations, preferring instead to conduct public interviews. Such media appearances are undoubtedly conducive to defense counsel’s fame. But they are not at all conducive to an argument that the only way defense counsel could privately communicate with his client is if defendant were temporarily released.”

The judge also dismissed Chansley’s and his mother’s claim that he was ‘escorted’ and ‘waved in’ to the Capitol building by security so he is innocent of any crime.

“Not only is defendant unable to offer evidence substantiating his claim that he was waved into the Capitol, but evidence submitted by the government proves this claim false. A video submitted by the government captures rioters breaking through the windows of the Capitol building,” Lamberth wrote in a scathing 32-page opinion on March 8. “At the same moment that rioters smash the glass and crawl through the windows, the video pans over to show a large group of rioters walking through an adjacent doorway into the Capitol building. Included in that group is defendant, who is easily identifiable by his horned headdress.”

“The government’s video shows that defendant blatantly lied during his interview with 60 Minutes+ when he said that police officers waved him into the building,” Lamberth added. “Further, this video confirms that defendant did not, as defense counsel claims, enter the building” contemporaneously with the exiting by Capitol Police.” […] Nor did he enter, as defense counsel represents, in the ‘third wave’ of the breach. To the contrary, he quite literally spearheaded it.”

Maybe Chansley should get a better lawyer.

Even his demands for special treatment because he is a shaman are doubtful.

Experts on shamanism likewise have found Chansley’s claims to the faith questionable.

“Jacob Chansley’s shamanism bears scant resemblance to the real thing, although he gets high sartorial marks for headgear and ink,” Professor Michael F. Brown, the president of the Santa Fe-based School for Advanced Research and author of The Channeling Zone: American Spirituality in an Anxious Age, told Law&Crime. “Traditional shamans consume organic foods largely because that’s all they have access to. Some take hallucinogens as part of their practice, while others don’t. But traditional shamanism is closely connected to specific communities and their cultural understandings, which hardly seems to be the case for him.”

There is also the case of a Texas militia leader Guy Reffitt who reportedly charged at police during the July January 6th insurrection who has been denied bail because he had warned members of his family that if they betrayed him to the authorities, they would be traitors and that “traitors get shot”. In fact, “Reffitt was reported to the FBI by his son, Jackson, the week before the Jan. 6 insurrection, and an unidentified family member also secretly recorded multiple conversations upon his return from Washington.” His daughter Peyton tried to convince the judge that “his tough talk and threatening language in family discussions was just frivolous banter gone too far” but the judge did not buy it.

Jackson Reffitt told the FBI he feared that his father might harm him, and he has since relocated to an “undisclosed location,” according to prosecutors.

In addition, prosecutors revealed encrypted communications that show Reffitt discussing his ability to obtain police-grade firearms and use them to “take back our country” in future actions aimed at media outlets and social media companies.

The hearing shined a light on a family torn apart by the riot and its aftermath, and showed the personal toll that the participants in the insurrection has taken on their loved ones and communities.

Jackson, who reported his dad to the FBI around Christmas, has since done national interviews and publicly defended his decision on social media. Peyton, in her testimony, said he was simply not as close with their father and didn’t understand what his words meant.

[Magistrate Zia ] Faruqui said he was particularly troubled by the government’s claims, based on alleged boasts by Reffitt, that he brought two firearms to Washington and took one into the melee at the Capitol building.

“This shows to me premeditation, that he was coming with the intent to fight,” the judge said. “This is someone who came armed and ready for battle.”

All these people talk and act tough when they think they are in the dominant position but when things turn against them, they claim that they were just having fun, engaging in just talk, did not mean any harm, and are thus the real victims.


  1. Numenaster, whose eyes are up here says

    They are Schrodinger’s Terrorist. Is their big talk just talk, or serious? Nobody can tell until they open fire.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    … the July 6th insurrection …? Was that the protest against Trump™ not being on Mt Rushmore?

  3. Holms says

    In fact, “Reffitt was reported to the FBI by his son, Jackson, the week before the Jan. 6 insurrection, and an unidentified family member also secretly recorded multiple conversations upon his return from Washington.”

    All this reporting and recording and leaking FBI, informing them of a definite body of people planning to make moves on the seat of government… and even so, the preemptive action against the insurrection was tepid, and the reaction to it quite slow. All because the high-ups were shocked at Trump’s casual ousting of peaceful protesters just weeks earlier and recoiled too hard in the other direction.

  4. bmiller says

    Holms: I wish I shared your…optimistic…explanation for the non-response. I fear it was more because they largely SUPPORT or at least sympathize with the rioters?

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