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The attorney for a former sailor who was arrested after a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 says his client is a gentle man who now regrets listening to the president's "patent invitation" to enter the building that day.
Jacob Anthony Angeli Chansley, a 33-year-old Arizona man who also goes by Jake Angeli, should be pardoned by President Donald Trump, said Albert Watkins, a Missouri-based attorney representing Chansley.
"He regrets he believed in the words and patent invitation of the president and simply wanted to make sure the president was accorded the opportunity to do the honorable thing by pardoning him and other peaceful protesters who took the president for his word," Watkins said.
Trump spoke to his supporters before the mob broke into the federal building, telling them, "We’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them.
"Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness," the president said. "You have to show strength and you have to be strong."
"He immediately surrendered himself to authorities when he learned of their interest," the attorney said. "He is being proactively cooperative with the Feds."
Chansley was photographed inside the Capitol carrying a spear and wearing a fur headdress with horns and face paint. The self-professed "QAnon Shaman" has been seen wearing the same items at past events supporting Trump. The QAnon conspiracy theory claims that Satan-worshipping cannibalistic pedophiles are running a child sex-trafficking ring and plotting against Trump.
Watkins says the spear Chansley brought into the Capitol was part of his shaman regalia. He also carried a bullhorn, the attorney added, "to have his voice heard."
"He had no arms. He did not shroud his identity in secrecy. He had no bulletproof vest. No zip ties. No nefarious agenda," Watkins said. "He is a gentle man, committed to his faith, zero criminal history, and was supportive of the calls by the president for his help."
Chansley served as a Navy supply clerk seaman apprentice from 2005 to 2007. He was assigned to the now-decommissioned supercarrier Kitty Hawk in 2006.
Navy officials declined to provide further details about his career, including what kind of discharge he received from the military, citing privacy concerns.
Watkins said Chansley refused to take the anthrax vaccine for faith-based reasons. He did not provide additional details about those beliefs.
Federal prosecutors also say Chansley wrote a note to Vice President Mike Pence while in the Senate Chamber on Jan. 6, according to court documents, that said, "It's only a matter of time, justice is coming."