A man who federal prosecutors say participated in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol while shirtless and wearing horns and furs apologized this week for entering the building and “having aroused fear in the hearts of others.”
Jacob A. Chansley, known as the “QAnon Shaman,” said in a statement released late Monday that, “I was wrong. Period.”
The statement was issued by his Clayton-based lawyer, Albert Watkins.
Chansley, a longtime supporter of Donald Trump and bogus QAnon conspiracy theories, said, “I am deeply disappointed in former President Trump. He was not honorable. He let a lot of peaceful people down. I have to leave judging him up to other people.”
He added, “Please be patient with me and other peaceful people who, like me, are having a very difficult time piecing together all that happened to us, around us, and by us.”
Trump’s impeachment trial began Tuesday, with Democratic prosecutors saying that months of false statements about election fraud by Trump and his encouragement of a crowd on Jan. 6 triggered the riot and insurrection.
Prosecutors have said Chansley, an Arizona resident, was one of the first rioters in the Capitol. They say he left a note for Vice President Mike Pence, who had fled just minutes before Chansley’s arrival, that read, “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”
In a video from the riot, Chansley said he left the building at the urging of Trump because “we won the (expletive) day,” CNN reported.
“We won by sending a message to the senators and the congressmen,” he said. “If they don’t uphold the Constitution then we will remove them from office, one way or another.”
Watkins has mounted a public defense of Chansley in a series of statements, first demanding a pardon for Chansley and the other rioters, and then saying Chansley was willing to testify in Trump’s impeachment trial. He also successfully fought to have Chansley supplied with organic food in jail, citing his shamanistic beliefs.
One Capitol Police officer died after being severely beaten during the riot, and 140 Capitol and Washington officers were injured, authorities have said.