Days after prosecutors secured their first jail term for a felony conviction tied to the Jan. 6 Capitol Riots, Reuters is reporting that the Capitol protester known to the media as the "QAnon Shaman" is working on a plea deal after prison psychologists determined that he "suffers from a variety of mental illnesses."
Defense lawyer Albert Watkins, who is representing Jacob Chansley, told Reuters that officials at the BOP have diagnosed his client with transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety. His legal team said that Chansley's "mental condition deteriorated" due to the stress of being held in soliary confinement after being jailed in Alexandria, Va., Watkins said.
"As he spent more time in solitary confinement. . .the decline in his acuity was noticeable, even to an untrained eye," Watkins said in an interview on Thursday.
Chansley's lawyers said his 2006 mental health records from his time in the Navy corroborate the BOP assessment. He may have also been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome at one point.
Watkins has also blamed President Trump for instigating Chansley's participation in the riot. At one point, Watkins even compared Trump to Adolf Hitler (a comment we suspect his client didn't much appreciate).
Chansley was first photographed inside the Capitol shirtless, with his face painted and wearing a horned headdress. His lawyer says Chansley has expressed delusions, including believing that "he was indeed related directly to Jesus or Buddha.
Of the more than 530 people arrested for participating in the riot, roughly 20 defendants have pleaded guilty.
Prosecutors succeeded in convincing a federal judge that Chansley would constitute "a danger" to public safety should he be released. Should Chansley strike a deal, there's a chance he could wind up in one of the three federal prison hospitals. For now, the judge in his case has ordered a competency hearing to determine whether Chansley is capable of participating in his own defense.