Jacob Chansley quotes Forrest Gump in plea for a lighter sentencing but misspells movie’s name
The memo was Chansley’s fifth plea for freedom ahead of his sentencing next week for participating in the US Capitol Hill riots on 6 January. He pleaded guilty to the charge of obstruction of an official proceeding for his role in September. He is set to be sentenced on 17 November. Sentencing guidelines suggest that he may face between 41 to 51 months in prison.
The 23-page sentencing memo filed by Chansley’s lawyer Albert Watkins starts with a quote from the movie and misspells Forrest Gump’s name. It reads: “‘My momma always said, you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on.’ —Forest Gump,” reported The Daily Beast.
With his bellowing voice, viking-like horns, fur headdress and tattooed, shirtless frame, Chansley became the best-known of the thousands of insurrectionists who stormed the US Capitol to protest the results of the 2020 presidential election. Images of him inside the Capitol circulated widely in the press and on social media during the aftermath of the riot.
The self-described QAnon conspiracy follower was photographed holding a 6ft spear with the American flag tied to it in the Senate chamber, while chanting, shouting, and calling former vice president Mike Pence a “traitor.” He admitted leaving a note saying: “It’s Only A Matter of Time. Justice Is Coming!” on the vice president’s desk.
The violence left at least five people dead, and hundreds injured.
While pleading guilty in September, Chansley admitted to being one of the first 30 rioters to breach the Capitol on 6 January. He was arrested three days later from his hometown in Phoenix, Arizona. Since his arrest shortly after the riots, he has been held without bail.
The plea filed on Tuesday sought a light sentencing and said that he has already served 317 days in “dank, fully enclosed” solitary confinement in Alexandria, Virginia, due to Covid-19 restrictions since his arrest. The plea added that Chansley spends at least 22 hours in solitary confinement, even though he is not violent, reported Business Insider.
It cited Chansley’s “sincere remorse,” acceptance of responsibility, and longstanding mental health diagnosis to urge the court to use its “authority and discretion” to impose an alternative to the lengthy term of incarceration.
Tests conducted on Chansley in prison have shown that he suffers from transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.
The plea said that his mental illness was diagnosed in 2006, when Chansley was in the US Navy, but it was never declared to him.
In the latest memo, Mr Watkins wrote that it was now time for Chansley “to start on his journey to freedom — not from jail, but from mental health infirmities of significance”.
“It is time for Mr Chansley to commence his journey from within,” the memo said.
In September, soon after Chansley pleaded guilty, Mr Watkins had said that his client felt an attraction to former president Donald Trump, akin to that of a first love.
“He had a fondness for Trump that was not unlike the first love a man may have for a girl, or a girl for a man, or man for a man,” Mr Watkins said. “The first love always, always maintains a tender and soft spot in the heart of the lover.”
Before the guilty plea, Mr Watkins had claimed his client had “repudiated” the Q movement, and asked that he no longer be referred to as the “QAnon Shaman.”