The US Justice Department prosecutors have formally taken back their assertion in a court filing that said Capitol rioters from the January 6 attempted insurrection sought to “capture and assassinate elected officials.”
On Thursday it was revealed by the US Justice department that strong evidence suggested the plan of the rioters was to assassinate Vice-president Mike Pence and Congress members.
But on Friday, January 15, a federal prosecutor in Arizona asked a magistrate judge in a hearing to strike out the allegation in a recent court filing about defendant Jacob Anthony Chansley, a man who is alleged to have led some in the crowd in the first wave into the Capitol with a bullhorn while carrying a spear and wearing a fur headdress.
Chansley also known as the “QAnon Shaman”, “Q Shaman” and “Yellowstone Wolf”, is an American conspiracy theorist, actor, and activist who participated in the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol.
Now prosecutors want to remove the allegation that he and other protestors wanted to assassinate elected officials.
The entire line the prosecutors want to omit from their court filing is:
“Strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States Government.”
The move comes a few hours after Michael Sherwin, the acting US attorney in Washington, DC, said at a press conference there was “no direct evidence of kill and capture teams” at this time in the siege of the Capitol building.
In court, Todd Allison, a line prosecutor for the Justice Department in Arizona, said;
“We do not want to mislead the court by discussing the strength of any specific evidence” related to his intent, Allison said.
Chansley will remain in jail as he awaits trial, a judge decided on Friday, after the Justice Department portrayed him as a leader among the rioters.
Chansley’s attorney said he is not violent.
“He loved Trump, every word. He listened to him. He felt like he was answering the call of our president,” Chansley’s attorney Al Watkins, appearing on CNN Thursday night, said.
“My client wasn’t violent. He didn’t cross over any police lines. He didn’t assault anyone.” Watkins said Chansley also hopes for a presidential pardon.
Prosecutors speaking about Chansley’s role in the violent siege last week, say after he stood at the dais where Vice President Mike Pence had stood that morning, Chansley wrote a note saying “it’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”
Chansley later told the FBI he did not mean the note as a threat but said the Vice President was a “child-trafficking traitor”.
Before he was arrested, Chansley told the FBI he wanted to return to Washington for the inauguration to protest.
Prosecutors also say Chansley suffers from mental illness and is a regular drug user, according to prosecutors’ detention memo.