Judge Keeps Conviction Intact, Rips 'QAnon Shaman,' Carlson

Video aired on Fox News fails to clear Capitol rioter
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2023 6:15 PM CDT
Judge Keeps Conviction Intact, Rips 'QAnon Shaman,' Carlson
This image provided by the Alexandria (Va.) Sheriff's Office shows Jacob Chansley.   (Alexandria Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

A federal judge on Thursday made clear he doesn't view Jacob Chansley's behavior at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the way Tucker Carlson does. The then-Fox News host showed video in March of the rioter known as the "QAnon Shaman" apparently walking through the building that day without being stopped by officers, which Carlson said illustrated Chansley's innocence. US District Judge Royce Lamberth declined Thursday to vacate the conviction of Chansley, who pleaded guilty to obstructing Congress in November 2021, and had a few words for Carlson, as well, the Hill reports.

Lamberth's 35-page ruling said Carlson's show was "replete with misstatements and misrepresentations" about the riot. The host, the judge wrote, "explicitly questioned the integrity of this Court—not to mention the legitimacy of the entire U.S. criminal justice system—with inflammatory characterizations of cherry-picked videos stripped of their proper context." Lamberth said Carlson, who was fired by the network in April, used "language resembling the destructive, misguided rhetoric that fueled the events of January 6 in the first place," per the Washington Post. The video shown on Fox was surveillance footage turned over by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

After that, Chansley decided he should have gone to trial or at least sought better terms in his plea deal. At the time, the defendant had expressed remorse that the judge found genuine. Had Chansley not accepted responsibility, Thursday's ruling says, he'd have been given a tougher sentence. Lamberth, in taking apart the false claim that officers gave rioters free reign to enter and wander around the Capitol, said he was disappointed at Chansley's change of heart on his guilt. "Such an about-face casts serious doubt on the veracity of any of Mr. Chansley's claims, here or elsewhere," Lamberth wrote. Chansley has completed his sentence and been released. (More Jacob Chansley stories.)

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