U.S. Judge denies Capitol rioter's request for temporary release from prison

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: Man poses with his face painted in the colors of the U.S. flag in Washington

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge on Friday denied a request from the Capitol riot defendant known as the QAnon Shaman for temporary release from prison while he awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to a riot-related felony charge.

On Sept. 3, Jacob Chansley pleaded guilty to obstructing an official proceeding.

He was photographed inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, shirtless, wearing a horned headdress and heavily tattooed.

While in extended pre-trial detention, Chansley was diagnosed with transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety. His guilty plea carries a prison sentence of between 41 and 51 months.

In a nine-page order, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said that the legal standard for releasing a defendant from detention after a guilty plea is higher than for pre-trial release.

Lamberth said that in his request for pre-sentence release, Chansley argued that it was "important for his continued mental competency" that he avoid certain psychological "triggers." He told the court he wanted to visit his grandfather, "whose ill health he considers a triggering event."

Chansley defense lawyer Albert Watkins said: "There was simply nothing more I could do to permit a gentle, smart and kind young man the opportunity to spend a few minutes at the side of the man who raised him to say ‘good-bye’ one last time."

Lamberth said that he had ordered Chansley's pre-trial detention after finding that "no condition or combination of conditions would ensure that he would not flee" and that given his guilty plea, Chansley faces an "even heavier burden" to demonstrate he is not a flight risk.

The judge said that a plan Watkins proposed for supervision by doctors and former police officers in the event he was released "does not mitigate the possibility that Chansley's supporters will enable him to quickly raise money and flee."

(Reporting By Mark Hosenball; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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