ST. LOUIS (AP/KMOV.com) -- St. Louis attorney Albert Watkins is representing a man pictured in viral photos of the Capitol unrest and is making a direct plea for a pardon.
Jake Angeli, whose legal name is Jacob Anthony Chansley, was taken into custody Saturday in Arizona. An indictment unsealed Tuesday in Washington charged the 33-year-old with civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, disorderly conduct in a restricted building, and demonstrating in a Capitol building. It’s unclear whether the new charges are felonies or misdemeanors. Chansley was previously charged with two misdemeanors stemming from the violent riot — entering a restricted building without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Angeli is known as the “QAnon Shaman” and for his painted face and horned hat.
Angeli "accepted President Trump's invitation to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol," Watkins said in a statement. “Mr. Chansley is an American; he served honorably in the U.S. military. He has zero criminal history. He is a lover of nature, routinely practices meditation, is an active practicer of yoga and eats only organic food. He took seriously the countless messages of President Trump. He believed in President Trump. Like tens of millions of other Americans, Chansley felt -- for the first time in his life -- as though his voice was being heard.”
Watkins said Angeli played no part in the violence and surrendered peacefully, warranting a pardon.
“My client had heard the oft-repeated words of President Trump,” Mr. Watkins continued. “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.”
Chansley has long been a fixture at Trump rallies. Chansley’s unusual headwear is visible in a Nov. 7 AP photo at a rally of Trump supporters protesting election results outside of the Maricopa County election center in Phoenix. In that photo, Chansley, who also has gone by the last name Angeli, held a sign that read, “HOLD THE LINE PATRIOTS GOD WINS.” He also expressed his support for the president in an interview with the AP that day.
The FBI identified Chansley by his distinctive tattoos, which include bricks circling his biceps in an apparent reference to Trump’s border wall.
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.”
Watkins was in the news often in 2020 as he represented the Central West End couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, in personal capacity.