Jacob Chansley, the infamous QAnon Shaman currently facing prison for his role in the Jan. 6th insurrection on Capitol Hill, is once again pointing the finger at Trump as part of his defense strategy.
After Chansley’s arrest, he quickly turned on the former president, accusing Trump of lying to his followers and sparking a heated debate within QAnon circles online. In Chansley’s latest plea for leniency, his attorney Albert Watkins used some strong language to describe how his client was “groomed” into carrying out treason on Trump’s behalf.
“For years during the Trump administration, the President honed and routinely utilized his mass communication means to effectively groom millions of Americans with respect to his policies, protocols, beliefs, and overwhelming fixation on all matters conspiratorial,” Watkins wrote in his motion, according to Newsweek. “Months before the 2020 Presidential election, former President Trump heightened his public propaganda such as to alarm, alert, and amass his supporters and cause them to be concerned about an inevitable voter fraud being perpetrated upon the United States of America and, in turn, theft of our nation, loss of our democracy, and the seating of a falsely/fraudulently elected individual other than former President Trump.”
Though true — Trump did spend months sowing doubt around the election process and making baseless voter fraud accusations — Chansley’s most recent attempt to escape the consequences of his own actions is not the best choice of words. “Grooming” is the process by which an individual builds a relationship with a child or young adult to emotionally and/or physically abuse and manipulate them. Chansley is a 33-year-old man who just couldn’t be bothered to fact-check his leader’s propaganda. It’s really not the same thing.
But the QAnon Shaman didn’t just want to paint himself as the victim in this whole “topple democracy” plot, his attorney also plead with the courts to release his client because of Covid-19 concerns and his ongoing digestive issues. Chansley demanded to be fed an organic diet while in jail because of his underlying health issues and though that request was granted, the motion filed by his lawyer claims he has “experienced significant digestive tract issues attributable to the sustenance accorded the Defendant while in custody.” The motion goes on to say that while Chansley doesn’t have an “underlying medical condition which makes him especially vulnerable” to Covid, his “faith precludes him” from getting a vaccine that would protect him from the virus, making his jail time especially dangerous.
You’d think a grown man who storms government buildings in war paint and a Viking headdress would be a bit tougher than this, no?