The notorious “QAnon Shaman” made several stunning claims during his jailhouse interview with CBS News earlier this month—including that his actions during the Capitol riots were not an attack on the United States because authorities left the door open for the MAGA mob to enter.
“I didn’t break any windows,” Jacob Chansley said during the interview with 60 Minutes+ that aired March 4. “I didn’t break any doors. I didn’t cross any police barricades. I was peaceful. I was civil. I was calm.”
But a federal judge, who last week ordered Chansley to remain behind bars pending trial, insists the accused rioter “blatantly lied” during the interview about his easy entrance into the Capitol. And he has the receipts to prove it.
On Tuesday, the court released two videos to debunk Chansley’s claim, showing the chaos outside the Capitol on Jan. 6 as thousands of MAGA supporters smashed through the building’s windows. In the first video, first obtained by Law & Crime, Chansley is seen standing on scaffolding and holding an American flag above a sea of rioters being held back by law enforcement.
The second video shows a similar crowd right outside the Capitol doors, and people yelling “this is our country” as a man in an American-flag cowboy hat smashes a window and climbs through. Dozens of rioters are then seen entering through the window, while Chansley and several others storm a door next to the window. It wasn’t clear how the door was opened.
“This is our house,” someone is heard yelling behind Chansley, who is seen calmly walking down a Capitol hallway. There do not seem to be any law enforcement officers near the breached door and window, contradicting Chansley’s claim.
“Not only is [Chansley] unable to offer evidence substantiating his claim that he was waved into the Capitol, but evidence submitted by the government proves this claim false. A video submitted by the government captures rioters breaking through the windows of the Capitol building,” Judge Royce Lamberth said in a March 8 motion remanding Chansley into custody.
“At the same moment that rioters smash the glass and crawl through the windows, the video pans over to show a large group of rioters walking through an adjacent doorway into the Capitol building. Included in that group is [Chansley], who is easily identifiable by his horned headdress.”
Chansley, 33, from Phoenix, Arizona, was infamously photographed carrying a spear and a bullhorn and wearing a headdress made of coyote skin and buffalo horns during the siege. One of the first people to breach the Capitol and storm the Senate chamber, he admitted to leaving a chilling note for former Vice President Mike Pence that said, “justice is coming.” He was arrested on Jan. 9 and charged with civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, disorderly conduct in a restricted building, and demonstrating in a Capitol building.
Defense lawyer Al Watkins has repeatedly insisted his client is a “non-violent” person who only entered the Capitol after the doors were held open—“by a policeman who stated in effect, if not verbatim, ‘the building is yours.’” Even his mother, Martha Chansley, insisted in the 60 Minutes+ interview that he did nothing wrong, saying her son simply “walked through open doors.”
“He was escorted into the Senate. So, I don’t know what’s wrong with that,” she said. “I know that he is sorry but again it all comes back to he walked through open doors.”
But prosecutors say he was a key participant in the riots and the “self-proclaimed leader” of QAnon, a violent conspiracy theory that believes pedophiles and cannibals among the Democratic Party will be arrested and executed. Lamberth sided with prosecutors on March 8, saying that the image Chansley, his defense lawyer, and his mother presented during the CBS interview was not only inaccurate, but his actions on Jan. 6 show a disregard for authority and a lack of remorse.
“The government’s video shows that [Chansley] blatantly lied during his interview with 60 Minutes+ when he said that police officers waved him into the building,” Lamberth added, noting that the video confirms Chansley “quite literally spearheaded” the breach into the Capitol.
Watkins, however, is suspicious of the videos, telling The Daily Beast on Tuesday that there is “a concern about the videos having been produced for viewing only after the hearing.”
He said he had “concern about the representations made about what the videos purportedly depicted” and has therefore issued a plea for members of the public to “provide any video footage which depicts the Shaman in or around the Capitol on January 6, 2021.”
“Subsequent scrutiny of the video footage (including the The New Yorker video specifically cited by the Government) has given rise to the identification of numerous ambiguities, irregularities, inconsistencies, timeline issues and concern about the assertions of the Government about the actions of Mr. Chansley based on the Government’s video footage,” Watkins said in the public plea, which included an email address for the public to send in video footage.
“As part of an ongoing forensic evaluation of video footage as it relates to Mr. Chansley, a dedicated email address has been established for the transmittal of any video footage depicting Mr. Chansley on January 6, 2021. It is hopeful that the video footage which is provided will assist both Mr. Chansley and the Government to garner a heightened degree of appreciation for the peaceful and non-violent nature of the Shaman and that which really occurred on January 6,” he added.