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'QAnon Shaman' lawyer says all Americans had a role in U.S. Capitol riot

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Reuters
Reuters
 2021-06-22
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Jacob Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, holding a sign referencing QAnon, speaks as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather to protest about the early results of the 2020 presidential election, in front of the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC), in Phoenix, Arizona November 5, 2020. REUTERS/Cheney Orr/File Photo

June 22 (Reuters) - The participant in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol nicknamed the "QAnon Shaman" for his horned headdress argued through a lawyer on Tuesday that all Americans - and disinformation - are to blame for the deadly violence.

Jacob Chansley of Arizona is currently in federal custody awaiting trial on six criminal charges including violent entry and disorderly conduct.

He was one of hundreds of supporters of then-President Donald Trump who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's election. Five people including a Capitol Police officer died in the violence.

In a court filing seeking Chansley's release from jail while he awaits trial, his lawyer, Albert Watkins, said the attack was the direct result of the divisive U.S. political climate.

Watkins said his client has become "inextricably and in perpetuity linked to an event which will become known not as a day of infamy, but as a day on which our nation was compelled to commence bellying up to the bar to acknowledge each of our roles in permitting, fostering, tolerating, endorsing or ignoring without action an ever increasing barrage of divisiveness, intolerance, untruths, misrepresentations, and mischaracterizations through an unrelenting multi-year propaganda odyssey."

Watkins said in an interview that his client was swayed by online disinformation and by Trump's rhetoric.

On June 10, federal agents transferred Chansley to a prison in Colorado where he will undergo a mental health evaluation to assess his competency to stand trial, according to a June 16 court filing submitted by federal prosecutors.

Watkins argued in Tuesday's court filing that prosecutors have intentionally ignored evidence that Chansley was not a leader of the Jan. 6 attack.

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