PHOENIX - A judge in Phoenix has denied bail for an Arizona man known as the so-called 'QAnon Shaman," meaning he will remain in custody.
An indictment unsealed on Jan. 12 in Washington D.C. charges 33-year-old Jake Chansley, who is also known as Jake Angeli, with civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, disorderly conduct in a restricted building, and demonstrating in a Capitol building. It is unclear whether the charges are felonies or misdemeanors.
Chansley was previously charged with two misdemeanors stemming from the deadly riot — entering a restricted building without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Chansley was arrested on Jan. 9.
According to court paperwork, on Jan. 7, "Chansley called in to the Washington Field Office of the FBI to voluntarily speak with law enforcement.. an FBI agent spoke on the phone with Chansley, who confirmed that he was the male in the face paint and headdress in the Vice President's chair in the Senate. Chansley stated that he came as a part of a group effort, with other 'patriots' from Arizona, at the request of the President that all 'patriots' come to D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021."
According to court documents, Chansley left a note for Vice President Mike Pence after he stormed the capitol with a six-foot spear during the deadly riot. The note read "its only a matter of time - justice is coming."
The government argues the note is worded in a threatening manner.
Chansley’s court-appointed attorney has told a judge during a previous court proceeding that his client had not eaten anything for several days since he’s been in custody because he has a very restrictive diet.
Chansley’s mother attended the court hearing, and expressed her concern saying he can only eat organic food or he gets very ill.
As of Jan. 12, the court says Chansley has not been granted a special diet while in custody. "The Court directed that the defense attorney contact the United States Marshal about the dietary issue to try to resolve it," documents read.
Adding, "The Court did not order any specific diet for Mr. Chansley. The Court trusts that the United States Marshal and Mr. Chansley’s attorney have already or will communicate about the appropriate course of action regarding any legitimate dietary needs Mr. Chansley may have."
Judge rules Chansley must remain in custody
During a court appearance on Jan. 15, a judge called Chansley a "serious flight risk" and "danger to the community," especially with the upcoming inauguration. While Chansley will remain in custody, he is set to be taken back to Washington D.C. at some point for further legal proceedings.
During the court appearance on Jan. 15, Chansley was dressed differently than the outfit people are used to seeing him in: red, white, and blue paint, fur accessories, with the bullhorn. Chansley appeared via a video conference, and his mother was in the courtroom. She even tried to wave to him.
In interviews with the FBI before his arrest, Chansley allegedly expressed interest in going back to D.C. for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, and even going to the Arizona State Capitol as well.
hansley’s attorney argued that GPS monitoring would be a reasonable condition for release, and that Chansley, who the attorney claims is a veteran, has no criminal history.
The presiding judge, however, said she had no confidence Chansley would follow any court order if released.
As for the aforementioned dietary issue, the mother did mention in court that while Chansley looked unhappy, he is eating again.
Supporters, lawyers speak out
After the hearing, Chansley's mother declined to comment. Supporters of Chansley, however, say they disagree with a judge saying Chansley being an "active participant in violent insurrection."
"That was not evident to me," said Larry Grafanakis. "He was Jake. He was loud and obnoxious and in people's faces, but he was not involved in any looting or car burning or violence of any kind."
"Right now, I think Jake is a good guy," said a person, identified only as 'Bubby.' "He's an American citizen. He’s a patriotic guy. I have never seen Jake ever do anything bad. He’s been like a teacher, a role model. He’s always tried to help people. It doesn’t matter what you Democrats think. You can think whatever you wanna think."
A lawyer from St. Louis, Albert S. Watkins, was retained to represent Chansley. Warkins has released a statement asking for President Trump to pardon Chansley.
The statement reads, in part:
"Mr. Chansley is an American. He served honorably in the U.S. Military. He has zero criminal history. He is a lover of nature, routinely practices meditation, is an active practitioner of yoga, and eats only organic food. He took seriously the countless messages of President Trump. He believed in President Trump. Like tens of millions of other Americans, Chansley felt for the first time in his life as though his voice was being heard."
Chansley among dozens of people arrested following deadly riot
Chansley, who had become a staple in his costume at pro-Trump protests across the country, is now among dozens of people arrested in the wake of the Capitol invasion by a large mob of Trump supporters enraged over his election loss.
"This is no ordinary offense involving trespass. This is entering into a federal building and stopping one of the most important features of our democracy and that is the counting of the vote," says Paul Charlton, former US Attorney.
Prosecutors can add more serious charges against Chansley for his participation in the deadly riot.
"Federal prosecutors are charging him with this now to get him into the system and then they will make the determination about whether or not more serious charges will be brought against him in the future," Charlton explained, adding, "Charges as serious as homicide can be brought against people involved in this unlawful intrusion, we don’t know if that’s going to happen yet but on the spectrum of possibilities, that’s one of them."
His next hearing is Friday, Jan. 15. The judge will determine if he will remain in custody, but he will ultimately have to return to Washington D.C. to face these charges and for trial.
If convicted, Chansley faces up to 25 years in prison.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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