Jacob Chansley, better known as the Bison or QAnon shaman, pleaded guilty on Friday to obstructing Electoral College procedures in the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill. The man who stormed into the Senate room sporting horns, furs on his head and bare chest could be sentenced to between three and four years in prison. Chansley, who reached an agreement with the prosecutors handling the case in a virtual hearing at the Federal District Court in Washington, will hear the sentence on Nov. 17.
The 34-year-old is one of the most recognizable faces of the attack carried out by a mob of Donald Trump supporters. Chansley’s lawyer argued in January that his client was “repentant” and that he felt “betrayed” by the former Republican president, “the man he gave the moon to and turned his back on,” he said. According to prosecutors, when the Bison was in the Senate room, he left a note on the desk of then Vice President Mike Pence that said: “It’s only a matter of time, justice will arrive.”
The follower of the QAnon, considered an internal terrorism organization by the FBI, was one of the first insurgents to invade the Capitol. Three days after the attack, he was arrested and charged with six federal crimes, including: civil disorder, obstruction of Electoral College procedures, alteration of public order in a restricted place and demonstration in a Capitol building. On Friday he only pleaded guilty to obstruction, one of the most serious crimes. As part of the settlement, Chansley has pledged to pay $2,000 (about 10,380 reais) as damages refund to the Capitol and is still likely to receive a $250,000 fine.
“When the president, on January 6, asked them to walk with him down Pennsylvania Avenue, they felt not only that the president was talking to them, but that he was inviting them. Did our president have a role? Did you have any influence? Did it cause, at least in part, what happened on January 6th? Yes. Categorically. Without a doubt,” attorney Albert Watkins said in January of the reasons behind his client’s actions during the attack.
District Judge Royce Lamberth accepted the terms of the defendant’s settlement with federal prosecutors, who will sentence him to between 41 and 51 months in prison. Lamberth said he would soon decide on Chansley’s lawyer’s request to release his client pending sentencing. The Justice Department has opposed this request repeatedly since Chansley’s arrest in January. “He’s a man with vulnerable mental health who has been living for eight months in what any doctor would say is the worst thing that can be done to someone who has a personality disorder,” Watkins said.
Chansley is part of a small group of violent men who, although they didn’t attack anyone on Jan. 6, remain in federal custody before the trial because they pose a risk to society. At least 600 people have been arrested so far in the case of the attack on the Capitol. The Department of Justice has obtained more than 50 guilty pleas.