Capitol rioter known as "QAnon Shaman" released early from federal prison
Washington — Jacob Chansley, the Capitol rioter known as the "QAnon Shaman" and arguably the most recognizable Jan. 6 defendant, has been transferred from a federal prison complex to a halfway house in Arizona, several months before he was initially set to be released.
Federal prison records indicate Chansley is currently at a "residential reentry management" facility in Phoenix, with a release date of May 25. He was originally projected to be released in July 2023, but federal prisoners can earn reductions in sentences over the course of their time behind bars.
Chansley was sentenced to 41 months prison in November 2021, two months after he pleaded guilty to a federal charge of obstruction of an official proceeding. He also spent time in jail prior to his guilty plea and sentencing.
Chansley is among the highest-profile of the roughly 1,000 criminal defendants who have been charged for their roles in the Capitol attack, in part due to his unique outfit, which included animal fur and horns. He was also among a smaller subset of rioters who went into the Senate chamber, where he sat at the desk of the Senate president.
According to prosecutors, Chansley proceeded to take pictures of himself on the dais and refused to vacate the seat when asked to do so by law enforcement. Instead, he stated that "Mike Pence is a f***ing traitor" and wrote a note on paper on the dais that read "It's Only A Matter of Time. Justice Is Coming!"
A Bureau of Prisons spokesman wouldn't comment specifically on Chansley's case, but noted in a statement to CBS News that the 2018 law known as the First Step Act changed how frequently federal inmates can earn sentence reductions, with credits last calculated in March.
Chansley regained prominence this month, when his case was the subject of a series of programs on Tucker Carlson's primetime Fox News show.
At his sentencing hearing in 2021, Chansley called his actions "indefensible" and said he had "no excuse."
"I am in no way shape or form a dangerous criminal. I am not a violent man. I am not an insurrectionist. I am certainly not a domestic terrorist," Chansley told the judge. "I am nothing like these criminals that I have been incarcerated with."
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