A conspiracy theorist who became one of the most recognized rioters storming the US Capitol last January pleaded guilty Friday to obstructing congressional proceedings, a charge carrying a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
Images of Jacob Anthony Chansley, who as a shirtless man carrying a spear and wearing a horned fur hat became known as the QAnon shaman, were beamed around the world when he and others invaded the Capitol building and took over the US Senate.
Chansley has been a subscriber to QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory blamed for fueling Donald Trump’s supporters who tried to halt Congress’s certification of results of the 2020 election won by Joe Biden.
Speaking by video link to federal Judge Royce Lambert in US District Court in Washington, Chansley said “yes your honor” to pleading guilty to the most serious charge in a six-count indictment.
Chansley, who in court acknowledged his “mental vulnerabilities,” has undergone a psychiatric evaluation, with the judge saying he determined that Chansley was competent to stand trial.
Sentencing was scheduled for November 17. According to guidelines estimated by the prosecution, Chansley could face a sentence of between 41 and 51 months in prison.
His lawyer, Albert Watkins, sought leniency from the court.
“Mr Chansley has zero criminal histories, we do know that he was not a planner (of the unrest), he was not violent,” Watkins said.