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Capitol rioter "horrendously smitten" by Trump willing to speak at impeachment trial, lawyer says

The lawyer for an Arizona man who took part in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol while sporting face paint, no shirt and a furry hat with horns is offering to have his client, Jacob Chansley, testify at former President Donald Trump's upcoming impeachment trial. Lawyer Albert Watkins said it's important for senators to hear the voice of someone who was incited by Mr. Trump.

Watkins said his client was previously "horrendously smitten" by Mr. Trump but now feels let down after Mr. Trump's refusal to grant Chansley and others who participated in the insurrection a pardon. "He felt like he was betrayed by the president," Watkins said.

Watkins said he hasn't spoken to any member in the Senate since announcing his offer to have Chansley — also known as Jake Angeli — testify at the trial, which is scheduled to begin the week of February 8.  

The words of Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the riot may end up being used against him in his impeachment trial. Chansley and at least four others people who are facing federal charges stemming from the riot have suggested they were taking orders from the now-former president. 

Chansley, who calls himself the "QAnon Shaman" and has long been a fixture at Trump rallies, hasn't yet entered a plea to charges of civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, disorderly conduct in a restricted building, demonstrating in a Capitol building and other counts. He is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Washington.

Protester in the Senate Chamber
A Trump supporter, later identified as Jacob Chansley, a.k.a. Jake Angeli, of Arizona, screams "Freedom" inside the Senate Chamber after the U.S. Capitol was breached by a mob during a joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021. Getty Images

In successfully seeking his detention until trial, prosecutors said Chansley went into the Capitol carrying a U.S. flag attached to a wooden pole topped with a spear and ignored an officer's commands to leave. Prosecutors said Chansley entered the Senate chamber with a group of about 25 rioters, posed for pictures at the dais where then-Vice President Mike Pence had been minutes before, and left a note that read, "It's only a matter of time. Justice is coming." 

The following day, prosecutors say Chansley called the FBI Washington field office, admitted his involvement and described Pence as a "child-trafficking traitor," but said he did not intend the note to be a threat. When asked about the meaning of the note, he launched into a "lengthy diatribe" describing current and past lawmakers including Pence, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden as "infiltrators involved in various types of wrongdoing."

Chansley told investigators he came to the Capitol "at the request of the president that all 'patriots' come to D.C. on January 6," according to court records.

Prosecutors said Chansley is a "self-proclaimed leader" in the QAnon conspiracy theory movement. Images of the shirtless Chansley storming the Capitol wearing horns, a fur coyote tail headdress and face paint, carrying a bullhorn and a spear, quickly went viral on social media.

Erin Donaghue contributed to this report.

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