“QAnon Shaman” Negotiating for a Plea Deal Following Mental Health Diagnosis

Jacob Chansley, the man nicknamed the “QAnon Shaman” after he was photographed inside the Capitol wearing a horned headdress, shirtless and heavily tattooed, is negotiating for a plea deal after officials at the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) diagnosed him with transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety.

Defense lawyer Albert Watkins said officials confirmed Chansley’s mental condition deteriorated due to the stress of being held in solitary confinement at a jail in Alexandria, Virginia.

“As he spent more time in solitary confinement … the decline in his acuity was noticeable, even to an untrained eye,” Watkins said.

Watkins noted that Chansley has not been declared mentally incompetent and that he does not expect his client to be ordered to undergo mental health treatment. He says Chansley has expressed delusions “believing that he was indeed related directly to Jesus and Buddha.”

“What we’ve done is we’ve taken a guy who is unarmed, harmless, peaceful … with a pre-existing mental vulnerability of significance, and we’ve rendered him a chocolate soup mess,” Watkins said.

The BOP said that Covid-19 restrictions influenced their decision to place Chansley in solitary confinement but said in a statement that even those in solitary confinement “have access to staff and programming,”