Skip to main content

‘QAnon Shaman’ Files Notice of Appeal After Being Sentenced to 41 Months in Prison

Jacob Chansley is seen at the U.S. Capitol in a Jan. 6, 2021 Getty Images photo. He is also seen in a Feb. 4, 2021 mugshot released by the Alexandria, Va. Detention Center.

Jacob Chansley is seen at the U.S. Capitol in a Jan. 6, 2021 Getty Images photo. He is also seen in a Feb. 4, 2021 mugshot released by the Alexandria, Va. Detention Center.

The so-called “QAnon shaman,” who pleaded guilty to trying to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election and was sentenced to more than three years in prison, has filed a notice of appeal.

John Pierce, the new attorney for Jacob Chansley, filed the notice on Tuesday.

“[N]otice is hereby given that Defendant Jacob Chansley, hereby appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from the Judgment and Sentence issued by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia,” the notice says.

The notice was among at least three filed on Chansley’s behalf on Tuesday, including at least two under seal, according to the case docket.

Chansley was pictured on Jan. 6 standing behind former Vice President Mike Pence’s Senate dais in a horned, coyote-fur headdress and red, white, and blue face paint after scores of Donald Trump supporters broke through police barricades and stormed the Capitol building.

He pleaded guilty in September; on Nov. 17, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, a Ronald Reagan appointee, sentenced him to 41 months in prison.

“I was wrong for entering the Capitol,” Chansley told Lamberth at the time. “I have no excuse, no excuse whatsoever.”

Despite Chansley’s apparent contrition at sentencing, Monday’s appeal notice is not entirely surprising. Chansley officially swapped out attorneys Monday, following a post-sentencing drama that saw now-attorney John Pierce publicly claim he was representing Chansley before Chansley’s then-current attorney Albert Watkins apparently knew about it.

Chansley, Watkins, and Pierce all appeared for a hearing ordered by Lamberth on Monday in order to settle the confusion over Chansley’s representation. By the end of the hearing, Pierce was in, and Watkins was out.

Watkins, for his part, appeared to harbor no ill feelings toward Chansley, even though Pierce had previously hinted that ineffective assistance of counsel would be the basis for challenging the conviction.

“All sentenced federal defendants have the right to appeal their sentence,” Watkins told Law&Crime over email on Monday. “Jake is a remarkably gentle and bright young man. I sincerely wish him all the best in his life. He has a bright future.”

Pierce is already a known entity among Jan. 6 defendants: his conservative “National Constitutional Law Union” is providing legal support for at least 22 people accused in the Capitol riots.

Pierce was also an attorney for the recently-acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse before he was fired in February.

In another wrinkle relating to Chansley’s representation, Lamberth declined to grant a motion by another attorney seeking to represent Chansley. William Shipley, a Hawaii-based attorney, filed a pro hac vice motion on Friday, asking for permission to represent Chansley in the U.S. District for the District of Columbia. Although pro hac vice motions are often granted without much fanfare, Lamberth said that he needs further briefing on this one.

“This Court has reason to believe that Mr. Shipley was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1998,” Lamberth wrote in Monday’s order, after citing a court rule requiring outside lawyers looking to practice in the D.C. circuit to identify all bars to which they have been admitted—something that Shipley, apparently, did not do.

“The Court hereby ORDERS defendant to supplement his motion with a list of all bars to which Mr. Shipley has been admitted,” Lamberth wrote. “The Court further ORDERS defendant to supplement his motion with an explanation as to why Mr. Shipley is not eligible to practice law in California.”

According to California Bar records, Shipley was admitted to practice in the state in 1988 and has been ineligible to practice there since 2015, due to failure to pay state fees.

Chansley isn’t the first Jan. 6 defendant to file a post-conviction notice of appeal.

Scott Fairlamb, who was also sentenced to 41 months in prison by Lamberth, filed a notice of appeal on Nov. 24. He had pleaded guilty in August to punching a law enforcement officer.

In September, Paul Hodgkins appealed his conviction for obstructing a joint session of Congress. He had pleaded guilty in June, and in July U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss sentenced Hodgkins to eight months in prison. Hodgkins was the first to be sentenced for a felony relating to the Capitol attack.

Read Chansley’s notice of appeal, below.

[image via SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images, Alexandria Detention Center]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime: