Elon Musk Throws Weight Behind 'QAnon Shaman' After Security Cam Revelation, Calls for His Immediate Release
Insisting that newly released video has washed away the underpinnings of the case against the man who for many became the face of the 2021 Capitol incursion, Elon Musk said Friday that the man Americans know as the “QAnon Shaman” should be freed.
Dressed in a horned fur headdress and wearing red, white and blue face paint, Jacob Chansley was one of the most photographed figures from the day when protesters breached and roamed the Capitol. For his role in the events of that day, in November 2021 he was sentenced to 41 months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of obstructing an official proceeding.
Chansley has again emerged front and center in the controversy over Jan. 6, 2021, due to video footage that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy shared with Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Two particular snippets feature Chansley. In one, he appears to be escorted by Capitol police, who make no attempt to physically stop him, but instead appear to be accompanying him through the Capitol
In a second snippet, he is shown and heard talking through a bullhorn to protesters outside the Capitol, telling the crowd that then-President Donald Trump wanted the protest to end.
With that as evidence, Musk’s tweeted verdict was terse: “Free Jacob Chansley.”
Free Jacob Chansley https://t.co/8BbeXF2Fye
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 10, 2023
Musk later elaborated.
“I’m not part of MAGA, but I do believe in fairness of justice,” Musk wrote.
“Chansley was falsely portrayed in the media as a violent criminal who tried to overthrow the state and who urged others to commit violence. But here he is urging people to be peaceful and go home. And the other video shows him calmly walking in the Capitol building, being escorted by officers and then thanking the officers,” he wrote.
I’m not part of MAGA, but I do believe in fairness of justice.
Chansley was falsely portrayed in the media as a violent criminal who tried to overthrow the state and who urged others to commit violence.
But here he is urging people to be peaceful and go home. And the other… https://t.co/XU8vISJaNy
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 11, 2023
Chansley got 4 years in prison for a non-violent, police-escorted tour!?
Dave Chapelle was violently assaulted on stage by a guy with a knife. That guy got a $3000 fine & no prison time. https://t.co/qDRWxozD8B
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 10, 2023
In a later tweet, Musk buttressed his argument.
“Chansley got 4 years in prison for a non-violent, police-escorted tour!? Dave Chapelle was violently assaulted on stage by a guy with a knife. That guy got a $3000 fine & no prison time,” Musk wrote.
Attorney Albert Watkins, who represented Chansley at his trial, said the footage Americans are seeing was never available for him to review before Chansley’s trial, according to Fox News.
“This is a man who had tremendous intelligence, [is] very gentle, very, very articulate who was diagnosed 15 years earlier by the government with a mental health issue- and the government knew that,” Watkins said to Fox News host Tucker Carlson. “The government knew through three hearings when we begged and pleaded to get this man out of solitary confinement, literally falling into an abyss, mentally.”
“And through each of those three hearings that government assistant U.S. attorney knew the most important aspect of that hearing was that Jake was not violent. The government knew,” he said. “They knew that Jake had walked around with all of these police officers. They had that video footage I didn’t get. It wasn’t disclosed to me. It wasn’t provided to me.”
Watkins said the issue is not Chanley’s case, but the way the system was corrupted.
“This is about our justice system being so compromised, the very integrity and core of that, which we wore as a badge of honor for the entirety of our nation’s history, has been rendered a vile, disgusting mess by a Department of Justice that was running amok,” Watkins said.
“And they didn’t share the video of my client, the footage from my client with nine officers surrounding him peacefully, wandering about, trying to help them, trying to get him access to the Senate chamber. They didn’t because it didn’t fit their narrative,” he said.
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