WASHINGTON, June 30 (Reuters) – A lawyer for the man nicknamed the “QAnon Shaman,” who faces criminal charges in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, asked a federal judge on Wednesday to release his client, saying he poses no danger to the public.
The man, Jacob Chansley, is in federal custody awaiting trial on six criminal charges, including violent entry.
On Jan. 6, Chansley joined a crowd of hundreds of supporters of Republican then-President Donald Trump who stormed the Capitol in an unsuccessful bid to stop Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.
Defense attorney Albert Watkins argued in U.S. District Court in Washington that the flagpole Chansley carried inside the Capitol “was not able to be used as a deadly weapon.”
Rioters beat police officers with flagpoles and other objects during the assault, which ultimately left five dead and scores wounded.
Also on Wednesday, Mark Grods, a member of the right-wing Oath Keepers militia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction charges for taking part in the attack.
Chansley was famously photographed inside the U.S. Senate Chamber wearing a horned hat, and is known for supporting the QAnon conspiracy theory that casts Trump as a savior figure and elite Democrats as a cabal of Satanist pedophiles and cannibals.
He is undergoing a mental health evaluation by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to determine whether he is mentally competent to stand trial.
Watkins said that he expects the results of that exam would “be forthcoming in short order.”
In the hearing, he acknowledged his client needs mental health services, a problem that was documented as far back as 2006 when Chansley served in the U.S. military. Watkins said Chansley could get the treatment he needs back home in Phoenix.
A federal prosecutor told the judge the time is “not ripe” yet to revisit whether Chansley should be detained until the psychiatric evaluation is completed. (Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; editing by Jonathan Oatis)