The attorney for the so-called "QAnon shaman" sought to minimize blame for the U.S. Capitol rioter's conduct during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Jacob Chansley appeared Wednesday in court for a sentencing hearing after pleading guilty to one count of obstructing a proceeding of Congress, after the 33-year-old Arizona man entered the Senate chamber and sat in then-vice president Mike Pence's chair and left a note calling him a "f*cking traitor," but his attorney blamed society.
"January 6th gave rise to the world to see unbridled, unfettered repugnancy," said attorney Albert Watkins. "But the cause of that is not the issue here. Jan. 6 is the day we will look back in our rear-view mirror ... that will be the day we belly up to the bar and take responsibility for our role."
Chansley, who went shirtless that day, carrying a spear and wearing face paint and a fur hat with horns, called other rioters up to the Senate dais with a bullhorn, but his attorney argued that he was not violent during the insurrection and had not planned the assault.
"This case presents every bit as uniquely as Jake presented on Jan. 6," Watkins argued. "This court is in a simultaneously unique position to mete out justice and to emphasize the common ground between all of us and somehow bridge this great divide."
The attorney then cast some blame of the U.S. Navy for failing to treat Chansley's mental illness while he served more than a decade ago.
"The government, in 2006, had a young man in their charge," Watkins said. "I gave you a photo from that era. It looks like he's 12. That young man, that kid, for the first time in his life, at the age of 19, he had access to medical care. He had the foresight, the insight, to go to the doc on the ship and say, hey, I want to find out if I'm crazy."
The Navy doctor diagnosed Chansley with schizotypal personality disorder, Watkins claimed, but did not tell him or put the sailor on a treatment plan.
"The government in this case has an opportunity to right a wrong that was perpetrated by the government – perhaps not the Department of Justice," Watkins argued.
Prosecutors are seeking a four-year prison term, which is toward the top end of federal sentencing guidelines.
Watkins: "He had the foresight, the insight, to go to the doc on the ship and say, hey, I want to find out if I'm crazy."— Jordan Fischer (@Jordan Fischer) 1637163741