The “QAnon Shaman,” famed for storming the US Capitol shirtless, tattoos blazing, in a horned fur headdress, was freed from jail 14 months early and relocated to a halfway home, according to prison authorities on Thursday.
35-year-old Jacob Chansley, who became the infamous face of the January 6 riot, was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in federal prison but was recently released.
Jacob Chansley, the “QAnon Shaman” and possibly the most prominent of the January 6 defendants, has been transported from a federal prison facility to a halfway home in Arizona many months before his scheduled release date.
According to federal prison records, Chansley has been moved to the “residential reentry management” facility in Phoenix, with a May 25 release date. It was previously estimated that he would be freed in July 2023. However, federal offenders can obtain sentence reductions during their time behind bars.
In November 2021, two months after pleading guilty to the federal charge of obstruction of an official process, Chansley was sentenced to 41 months in prison. Before pleading guilty and being sentenced, he served time in jail.
Chansley was also among the subgroup of rioters that entered the Senate chamber and sat at the Senate president’s desk. Authorities alleged that Chansley continued to snap photographs on the podium and would not vacate the position when ordered to do so by law officers. Authorities stated that he proclaimed, “Mike Pence is a f***ing traitor,” and scribbled on the podium, “It’s Just A Matter of Time. Justice Will Come!”
A Bureau of Prisons spokesman declined to comment on Chansley’s case. Still, he noted in a statement to CBS News that the 2018 law known as the First Step Act altered the frequency with which federal inmates can earn sentence reductions, with March being the most recent month for which credits were calculated.
According to the Department of Prisons: New adjustments have been made to First Step Act evaluations such that the 28-day assessment will count as the first, and an offender will be eligible to earn 15 days after two assessments instead of three.
This month, Tucker Carlson’s prime-time Fox News show discussed Chansley’s case on the air. During the episode, the police were partially escorting Chansley and opening doors for him.
After security camera evidence of the event on January 6 was made public, calls for Chansley’s release increased. The new tape shows Chansley being escorted through the Capitol during the initial incident – a far cry from the hellish, destructive, violent, and deadly “QAnon Shaman” portrayed to the American public.
This relatively recent film assisted Chansley in gaining support from an unexpected and strong ally, Twitter CEO Elon Musk.
Musk only needed to tweet “Release Jacob Chansley” to support the imprisoned shaman and boy; the responses come in fast.
At his sentence trial in 2021, Chansley described his behavior as “inexcusable” and stated that he had “no justification.” Chansley told the judge he was not a dangerous criminal nor a violent man, and Chansley added he was not an insurrectionist or a domestic terrorist. Chansley says he is unlike the criminals with whom he has been jailed.