ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – St. Louis attorney Al Watkins is speaking out after his 'QAnon Shaman’ client, who was seen in viral photos storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, did not receive a pardon during President Donald Trump’s final hours in office.
Jake Angeli, whose legal name is Jacob Anthony Chansley, has been charged with civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, disorderly conduct in a restricted building, demonstrating in a Capitol building, entering a restricted building without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
One of Watkins’ first statements when he began representing Chansley, who is known for his painted face and horned hat, was that his client "accepted President Trump's invitation to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol." The attorney has said the 33-year-old did not participate in the violence and surrendered peacefully.
“My client had heard the oft-repeated words of President Trump,” Watkins said last week. “The words and invitation of a president are supposed to mean something. Given the peaceful and compliant fashion in which Mr. Chansley comported himself, it would be appropriate and honorable for the president to pardon Mr. Chansley and other like-minded, peaceful individuals who accepted the president’s invitation with honorable intentions.”
An investigator said Chansley called the FBI in Washington the day after the riot, telling investigators that he came to the nation’s capital “at the request of the president that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021.”
During Trump’s final hours in office, the president issued dozens of pardons, but no one charged in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol received one.
Watkins responded to the absence of a pardon for Chansley with candor, “No one was holding their breath on the request and, as such, there is no need to exhale.”
“The request was of extraordinary value in that it accorded Trump an opportunity to do what his followers believed would have been the ‘honorable’ thing to do,” said Watkins. “Mr. Chansley, along with many others who were similarly situated, are now compelled to reconcile a betrayal by a man whose back they felt they had for years. In turn, they are compelled to be introspective and evaluate how they got where they are, the role of their former leader in that tragic course, and the vulnerabilities they share such as to be led down a primrose path by a man whose back is now squarely fading into the Mar Lago sunset as he walks spiritually hand-in-hand with Lil Wayne.”