The attorney representing Jacob Chansley, also known as the “QAnon Shaman,” argued Friday that his client should be released pending trial before a federal judge in Washington.
Chansley is the man shown in viral videos and photos bare-chested and wearing a fur hat with horns inside the Capitol and the Senate chamber during the Jan. 6 riot.
Chansley’s attorney, Al Watkins, said his client went to the Capitol at the invitation of former President Donald Trump, “like Forrest Gump.”
“We’re not dealing with a man of violence,” Watkins told U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth. “They genuinely believed in the truth of what was being asserted by the highest hired hand in the land, the president…”
Watkins also argued that Chansley believed police were allowing him and other protesters to enter the Capitol building.
Chansley has been in custody since his arrest, and prosecutors are seeking to keep him in detention until his trial.
Prosecutors assert that there is no reasonable version of events where Chansley could have thought the police were escorting him in, “as windows were being broken” and the alarm was going off.
A prosecutor told Lamberth that a Capitol Police officer asked Chansley to leave the Senate chamber multiple times, but he remained at the vice president’s desk, leaving a note saying, “It’s only a matter of time. Justice is coming.”
Lamberth said he intends to issue a ruling “shortly.”
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