US Capitol rioter who wore horned headdress to be released early | US Capitol attack

The US Capitol attacker who infamously wore a horned headdress and was nicknamed the “QAnon Shaman” is no longer in federal prison over the deadly January 6 uprising.

Jacob Chansley, 35, was sentenced to three years and five months in prison on 17 November 2021 after pleading guilty to helping a mob of Donald Trump supporters try to prevent the congressional certification of the former president’s defeat to Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

Federal prisoners often complete their sentences sooner if they demonstrate good behavior, and Chansley was scheduled to be released in July. Yet ahead of that date, prison officials transferred Chansley to a halfway house in his home town of Phoenix, Arizona, federal records showed on Friday. His sentence is now scheduled to end on 25 May.

There is no indication that the updated timeline of Chansley’s release is related to impassioned remarks from his attorney, Albert Watkins, on Fox News recently. Watkins went on the network and claimed that security footage from the Capitol attack, which the network aired earlier in March, showed Chansley did not have all of the material he needed to knowingly decide whether to stand trial or plead out.

Watkins did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Guardian.

Federal halfway house residents in general are required to find a job and may be allowed to drive or use a cellphone for employment purposes. They can also get a pass to engage in recreational weekend activities, and may later be moved from the group halfway house to confinement at a private residence.

Before the Capitol attack, Chansley was a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which believes Trump is locked in mortal combat with an elite cabal of cannibalistic, pedophilic and satanist Democrats.

The former president gave a fiery speech falsely claiming that he had lost to Biden because of widespread electoral fraud, and Chansley joined a large group of Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol that day in an attack that has been linked to nine deaths, including the suicides of officers who defended the building and were left traumatized.

Investigators later arrested Chansley, who was widely photographed at the Capitol attack in his outlandish garb with red, white and blue facepaint while also holding an American flag. He told them he had broken into the chamber of the US House because he was a “patriot” and Trump had requested it. While in-custody mental examinations revealed Chansley had transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety, he ultimately pleaded guilty to obstructing an official proceeding.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested with roles in the Capitol attack as of Friday, and many of them have pleaded guilty. Trump is not one of them, though a New York state grand jury on Thursday charged him with allegedly making an illegal hush money payment to porn actor Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign that he won.

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