QAnon shaman Jacob Chansley appeals sentence, seeks to void guilty plea in Jan. 6 Capitol riot case

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  • Jacob Chansley, the so-called QAnon magician, filed an appeal seeking the cancellation of his guilty plea and his 41-month prison sentence for his infamous role in the January 6 Capitol riots.
  • Chansley became a symbol of rebellion when hundreds of other supporters of then-President Trump interrupted the ongoing confirmation of President Biden’s election victory.
  • The appeal came after Chansley replaced his defense attorney, Albert Watkins, with a new attorney, John Pierce, who had at one time represented Kyle Rittenhouse.

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Jacob Chansley, the so-called QAnon magician, on Tuesday filed an appeal seeking the cancellation of his guilty plea and his 41-month prison sentence for his infamous role in the January 6 Capitol riots.

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Chansley’s appeal came a day later federal judge who accepted his plea and sentenced him in US District Court in Washington signed off on his move to replace his defense attorney, Albert Watkins, with a new attorney, John Pierce.

The appeal came nearly a week after second Capitol riot defendant Scott Fairlamb, who tied Chansley to receive the longest prison sentence in such a case, filed his appeal seeking dismissal of his guilty plea and sentence after changing lawyer

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It is extremely difficult to overturn a guilty plea and subsequent sentencing on appeal in federal court, especially because judges are careful to confirm to defendants that they understand that they are waiving their rights to appeal the plea or conviction in most cases. Huh.

However, a claim of ineffective assistance of attorney—essentially an argument that a defense attorney miserably failed the case—is a possible way to reverse a guilty plea.

Last week a legal non-profit group founded by Chancellor’s new attorney said a lawyer’s ineffective assistance could be grounds for Chancellor to appeal his sentence. Chancellor did not have grounds for his appeal in a legal filing filed Tuesday by Pierce, which will be heard by the US Court of Appeals.
For the District of Columbia Circuit.

Pierce at one point represented Kyle Rittenhouse, Illinois, who was acquitted earlier this month of criminal charges related to the fatal shootings of two people and the wounding of a third during a civil unrest in the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin. was given. Last year.

Chancellor became one of the symbols of the pro-Trump rebellion. When he walked into the Capitol complex with hundreds of other supporters of former President Donald Trump on January 6, he was shirtless and spear-clad, while wearing face paint and a fur hat with horns, running by a joint session of Congress. Confirmation interrupted. Because of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.

Prosecutors have said Chancellor, 34, ran into the Senate chamber and to the stage where then-Vice President Mike Pence was presiding over the proceedings minutes earlier, to leave a note warning “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”

The Phoenix man, who suffers from mental illness, and who subscribed to the bogus “QAnon” conspiracy theory, pleaded guilty September 3 to obstructing congressional proceedings, facing one of six criminal charges when he was charged. it was done.

Defense attorney Watkins represented Chansley in the months leading up to that plea, and negotiated with prosecutors to drop the other charges.

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Judge Royce Lamberth sentenced Chansley to 41 months in prison on November 17, which was the low end of the one recommended by federal sentencing guidelines, and 10 months less than the high end that prosecutors had requested.

I was wrong to enter the Capitol. I don’t have any excuse. No excuses,” Chancellor told Lamberth the day Watkins acted as his attorney. “The behavior is unforgivable.”

“I am really, really remorseful for my actions,” he said.

Less than a week later, Pierce filed a notice in federal court indicating that he was now representing Chancellor along with another attorney, William Shipley.

Watkins said in a statement released on the heels of that move that he remains Chancellor’s lawyer.

But at a hearing on Monday, Chancellor told Lamberth that he had fired Watkins, and was replacing him with Pierce and Shipley.

“Mr. Chansley is a very smart man, very intelligent, if not knowledgeable, and I sincerely wish him all the best in life,” Watkins told NBC News after the hearing.

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