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Why Jacob Chansley Matters

State of the Union: You may not wear a horned hat and face paint, but the regime thinks you’re a QAnon Shaman, too.

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In the aftermath of Tucker Carlson’s investigation into security footage from January 6, the Biden regime’s Department of Justice is denying claims made on Carlson’s program that certain exculpatory footage was withheld from January 6 defendants.

The DOJ submitted a ten-page filing Sunday in response to a motion filed by the attorneys representing Dominic Pezzola, a Proud Boys member charged with seditious conspiracy for his involvement in January 6. Pezzola’s attorneys argued that footage Carlson played, particularly the segment on Jacob Chansley, better known as the QAnon Shaman, was grounds for the dismissal of Pezzola’s case.


Pezzola’s lawyers argued that the footage was “withheld” from the defendant and "is plainly exculpatory; as it establishes that the Senate chamber was never violently breached, and—in fact—was treated respectfully by January 6 protestors,"

"To the extent that protesters entered the chamber, they did so under the supervision of Capitol Police. The Senators on January 6 could have continued proceedings,” Pezzola’s attorneys added.

In the DOJ’s filing, however, prosecutors argued the footage in question “was not withheld from Pezzola (or Chansley, in any material respect, for that matter)." Nor was the footage “shocking” or “exculpatory”: “In fact, the videos of Chansley’s movements throughout his time in the Capitol are highly inculpatory of Pezzola, Chansley, and other rioters captured on them.”

There are, however, some other interesting pieces of information surrounding the tapes disclosed in the DOJ filing:

“The CCTV footage is core evidence in nearly every January 6 case, and it was produced em masse, labeled by camera number and by time, to all defense counsel in all cases. With the exception of one CCTV camera (where said footage totaled approximately 10 seconds and implicated an evacuation route), all of the footage played on television was disclosed to defendant Pezzola (and defendant Chansley) by September 24, 2021.”


A footnote attached added “the remaining CCTV was disclosed in global discovery on January 23, 2023. It similarly—as with other CCTV—depicts defendant Chansley outside of the Senate Chamber with law enforcement, after his initial breach of the Chamber.”

But the date which the DOJ alleges all but a miniscule bit of footage became available to Chansley and his legal representation, September 24, 2021, was three weeks after Chansley had submitted his guilty plea. 

Albert Watkins, who served as Chansley’s attorney through his sentencing of forty-one months in prison, told Carlson in an interview that he and Chansley had not received this footage. But even if the DOJ is right, and Chansley and Watkins received almost all of the footage by September 24, it certainly appears that Chansley did not have all the evidence before him to determine whether to enter a plea or take the case to trial.

Mind you, the September date is about eight months after Chansley was arrested for his involvement in January 6. The deplorable conditions in which January 6 pretrial defendants have been kept is well documented, and Chansley, a veteran who has a long history of mental health problems, had spent those eight months in jail, mostly in solitary confinement. 

When Chansley was denied bail in March 2021, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Royce Lamberth said, "no condition or combination of conditions" could ensure Chansley’s return to court if released. Lambert said that Chansley’s “detachment from reality” and refusal to listen to law enforcement meant Chansley was likely to repeat the behavior if he were to be let out before trial.

"Defendant characterizes himself as a peaceful person who was welcomed into the Capitol building on January 6th by police officers," Lamberth claimed at the time. "The Court finds none of his many attempts to manipulate the evidence and minimize the seriousness of his actions persuasive." While Chansley’s certainly not completely in the right, the footage Carlson showed proves that Chansley’s statement about peacefully interacting with Capitol police is not a total fabrication. It’s worth wondering how Lamberth’s tone may have changed if that footage was presented to the court.

Some on the right say it's not worth sticking our necks out for January 6 defendants. At best, doing so is a political loser. At worst, they too think January 6 was an insurrection. 

But, despite his plentiful flaws, poor judgment and wrongdoings, and clear mental health problems, Chansley’s case still matters. It matters not only as a matter of human decency and justice, but because the regime thinks you’re just as bad. If you think the election was fishy; if you want critical race theory out of your children’s classroom; if you want to put an end to genital mutilation for preteens in the name of transgenderism and outlaw the dismemberment of unborn children in the womb, then you too are a QAnon Shaman. You’re just better at hiding it, for now.