"Q-Anon Shaman" Jacob Chansley released from prison; Updated

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File

UPDATE: I have appended a thread from Chansley’s current lawyer that clarifies what happened here. Apparently, the articles that covered the news got it somewhat wrong because they relied on his former lawyer. Jump to the bottom for his current lawyer’s explanation. 


Well, this was unexpected. Maybe it shouldn’t have been, but it was nonetheless.

Jacob Chansley, AKA the Q-Anon Shaman, was very quietly released from prison into a halfway house reported the Daily Mail.

The Bureau of Prisons gave no explanation for the decision, but it is impossible not to think that it is related to the release of a video that showed Chansley being escorted peacefully and helpfully by Capitol Police, suggesting that the prosecutors misled the jury on the circumstances of his arrest.

That video was not available to Chansley and his lawyers when constructing his defense, violating Chansley’s constitutional rights. As you recall from earlier posts, the prosecutors failed to make a “Brady disclosure” of exculpatory evidence.

I would expect that any fair court would agree, given how it provided mitigating evidence that by law prosecutors were required to turn over to Chansley’s lawyers in discovery.

The lawyer who represented the ‘QAnon Shaman’ in his trial for storming the Capitol on January 6 has said that his client has been released from prison to a halfway house.

Jacob Chansley, 35, pleaded guilty in September 2021 to civil disorder and violent entry to the Capitol, among other charges, and was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison.

In a statement to DailyMail.com on Thursday his attorney Albert S. Watkins said he had been released from prison to the custody of a halfway house.

‘After serving eleven months in solitary prior to his sentence being imposed, and only 16 months of his sentence thereafter, it is appropriate this gentle and intelligent young man be permitted to move forward with the next stage of what undoubtedly will be a law abiding and enriching life,’ said Watkins.


Chansley’s release hardly complies with standard federal practice. Under normal circumstances, he would still be in prison with months left before eligibility for any kind of release. This indicates that the government may have felt that they were in some danger of losing an appeal that had been filed based on the new evidence.

Federal guidelines allow for reduced prison time due to good behavior, but under those guidelines Chansley would have expected to serve at least 35 months and 22 days of his 41-month sentence.

Instead, he was transferred to the halfway house after just 27 months in prison, including the time served prior to his sentencing.

I would think so. They clearly broke the law by withholding the evidence. Releasing him now is likely an attempt to preempt any challenge in the court of his conviction. My guess is that no lawsuit will follow, as it would hardly be a slam dunk and just keep the farce going when Chansley probably wants to put this all behind him. Months in solitary confinement are not something you want to repeat.


That is just a guess, though. Chansley will have some time to consider this, and as of now he has not been exonerated or had his plea vacated. He has simply been released early.

The January 6th prosecutions have been a farce. It’s not that the rioters deserve no consequences for their actions. They do.

But the response has been utterly disproportionate to the cause. The fiction that this was an insurrection, not a riot, is absurd on its face. Putting rioters in solitary confinement for months to pressure them into guilty pleas? Unforgivable.

What he did was wrong, but hardly proportionate to the crime. I am glad he is out.



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David Strom 10:00 AM | April 16, 2024