As Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years in connection with the Capitol riot, one of the most prominent rioters was celebrating his freedom. Jacob Chansley, the so-called "QAnon Shaman," was released from a halfway house Thursday, the Hill reports. The 35-year-old was transferred from a federal prison to the Phoenix halfway house in March. Chansley, who wore face paint and a horned headdress during the riot, was sentenced to 41 months in November 2021. Attorney Albert Watkins said his client is "now appropriately free to continue in his peaceful quest to heal" after meeting the requirements in his plea deal for early release.
Prosecutors described Chansley, who was arrested days after the Jan. 6, 2021 attack, as the "public face of the Capitol riot." Chansley apparently doesn't plan to keep a low profile now that he is a free man, the Daily Beast reports. Hours after his release, he tweeted a computer-generated image of himself in a police car, wearing the headdress and face paint, with the caption "Freedom!!" He also tweeted a video in which he said he has no animosity toward the US government and has "forgiven his captors"—but he plans to keep "spreading the truth" about "global corruption."
Watkins tells the Daily Beast that he is still "very optimistic" despite signs his client hasn't fully abandoned QAnon conspiracy theories. He says Chansley has "vulnerabilities" and the healing process "is one which will involve a lifetime of focus and introspection." “What I am advocating right now is that there be patience and compassion on the part of the public," he says. "I worry for Jake every single day, virtually every minute of every day." (Read more Jacob Chansley stories.)