Lawyer: Rioter 'Accepted the President's Invitation'

Jacob Chansley wants a pardon from Trump
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2021 2:05 PM CST
Lawyer: Rioter 'Accepted the President's Invitation'
Martha Chansley, the mother of Jacob Chansley, leaves the federal courthouse in Phoenix on Friday. A judge ordered her son to be jailed until his trial.   (AP Photo/Terry Tang)

Jacob Chansley, a costumed rioter facing federal charges after storming the Capitol last week, wasn't doing anything but "putting faith in our president and obeying law enforcement present," his lawyer said. So Al Watkins wants President Trump to pardon his client. "Mr. Chansley is an American; he served honorably in the US military. He has zero criminal history," a statement said, KSBW reports. "He is a lover of nature, routinely practices meditation, is an active practitioner of yoga, and eats only organic food." Chansley, who wore horns and carries a spear into the Capitol, wasn't trying to take over the government, Watkins said, per KTVI. "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."

A judge in Phoenix ordered Chansley held until his trial; he'll be given only organic food during his detention. He's been a regular for two years at far-right events in Arizona, per the Washington Post, and supports QAnon. Chansley has tattoos of white nationalist symbols. He told the Post last week he wasn't concerned about being arrested. "I know that I didn’t do anything wrong," he said. "And even if I was arrested, wasn't Gandhi arrested a lot? Wasn't Martin Luther King Jr. arrested a lot? Wasn’t Jesus arrested? I put my trust in God, not the government." His lawyer, who identified Chansley as a shaman, said Trump has an obligation to pardon his "peaceful followers who accepted the president's invitation." Prosecutors in Arizona arguing to keep Chansley in custody said he said he'd indicated he'd like to attend President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration this week in Washington, per ABC. (More Capitol riot stories.)

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