QAnon Shaman's attorney: ‘These are people with brain damage’

·2 min read

An attorney for one of the more prominent Trump loyalists to enter the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to stop the certification of the presidential election has an unorthodox defense for people like his client: they’re dullards.

“A lot of these defendants — and I’m going to use this colloquial term, perhaps disrespectfully — but they’re all f---ing short-bus people,” Albert Watkins told Talking Points Memo. “These are people with brain damage.”

Watkins, who represents self-proclaimed “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley, used a couple more descriptors that were less than politically correct to make his case before arguing that regardless of their critical thinking skills, many of the alleged Capitol-stormers are unexceptional Americans, who were conned into doing something out of character.

“They were subjected to four-plus years of godd--n propaganda, the likes of which the world has not seen since f---ing Hitler,” Watkins told TPM.

Watkins had previously asked that his client be freed while awaiting trial because he believed he was following direct orders coming from the president of the United States. A judge determined that even if true, that wouldn’t make Chansley — who entered the Capitol with a flag on a spear and wearing bull’s horns — less of a threat to society.

Watkins said his client is living with Asperger’s syndrome.

Chansley, along with thousands of like-minded individuals, converged on the Capitol to support former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election had somehow been stolen from him. More than 400 people have been charged in connection with the attack.

TPM’s report notes that blaming propaganda for their actions may not result in not-guilty findings for those involved in the chaos of Jan. 6, but some legal experts suspect it could be considered a factor in the sentencing of some alleged rioters.

An attorney for another man accused of being involved in the uprising has argued that his client suffered from “Foxitis.” That was described as an affliction caused by “believing what was being fed to him” by Fox News.

Trump downplayed the uprising on Fox News, where he contradicted law enforcement’s summary of events by claiming there was “zero threat” and that his supporters were hugging and kissing cops in the Capitol.

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