After being involved in more than 300 political campaigns, including 10 presidential campaigns, I can say with some authority that every big campaign attracts a few funny
characters – the guys who show up at every rally dressed like Paul Revere or Abraham Lincoln being staples of Republican campaigns.
It’s not unusual for the media to interview them – particularly during wait times if the candidate is late. These folks are usually nice and have hit upon a novel way of getting their message out that works for them, even if it feels and looks odd to others, especially the campaign’s professional staff.
However, there are also oddballs who are disruptive and dangerous, and probably encouraged or paid by the opposition.
Then there are those truly eccentric characters who don’t really have a message – they just show up because there’s a crowd and they are looking for attention and just having fun LARPing (live action role playing) in costumes like the QAnon Shaman, Jacob Chansley.
Mr. Chansley, a navy veteran and vaguely employed “actor” prior to January 6, 2021, became a staple at Trump events in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Allegedly he would have a few tokes and, wearing a buffalo headdress, face paint and carrying a flag, show up anywhere there was a crowd proclaiming himself to be the “the QAnon Shaman.”
Chansley’s connection to Republican politics, Trump, or anything else political prior to discovering his calling as a “Shaman” is obscure at best, but he became one of the best known and earliest targets of the dragnet following the January 6 protest at the US Capitol.
Mr. Chansley was quickly apprehended and charged with Civil Disorder; Obstruction of an Official Proceeding; Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building; Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building; Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building; and Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building.
Mr. Chansley was arrested Jan. 9, 2021, and held in custody for nine months before he pled guilty in the District of Columbia on Sept. 3, 2021, to obstruction of an official proceeding. In addition to the prison term, Judge Royce C. Lamberth ordered him to pay $2,000 in restitution. He was also sentenced to a period of three years of supervised release following completion of his prison term.
Now, Tucker Carlson has pulled back the curtain on the arrest of Jacob Chansley to reveal that far from being a dangerous “insurrectionist” Mr. Chansley was the object of a cynically unconstitutional prosecution that denied him the basic constitutional right to receive exculpatory evidence discovered by the prosecution that even the foulest murderer would receive in an honest American court of law.
What the prosecution alleged claimed was that Mr. Chansley broke into the Capitol and the Senate Chamber, which he “desecrated” by sitting in the President of the Senate’s chair.*
What the full video shows is that Mr. Chansley entered the Capitol through an open door, after which he was escorted (some might say led) to the Senate Chamber, where officers obligingly opened the door for him and then gently shooed him out of the chair after a few minutes.
After viewing the footage aired by Tucker Carlson a cynic might fairly conclude that Mr. Chansley was set up, perhaps even selected, to make the MAGA Movement protesters at the Capitol look like dangerous lunatics and that his harsh 41-month prison sentence was not only unjustified, but it was also unconstitutional.
We agree with our friend attorney Mike Davis, former Chief Counsel for Nominations, U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary and a former Law Clerk for Justice Gorsuch, the prosecution of Jacob Chansley was so flawed it should be overturned and the lawyers responsible should be brought before their respective Bar Association Disciplinary Committees.
If Mr. Chansley was on trial for murder in DC, and these violations of his constitutional rights were revealed he would be freed and probably compensated in a nanosecond, but this is a J6 prosecution, so it seems the Constitution and the norms of our rule-of-law traditions do not apply. We call upon Judge Royce Lambeth to do the right thing and free Jacob Chansley, a harmless eccentric whose only crime was apparently believing the First Amendment's promise that “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” still applies in Joe Biden’s America.
*We suspect that in the 245-year life of the Republic more than one Senate intern and school kid has committed a similar offense.
January 6 Committee
obstruction of an official proceeding
Judge Royce C. Lamberth
Attorney Mike Davis
free Jacob Chansley