The attorney for a Capitol riot defendant claimed in an interview Tuesday that most of the people charged with crimes during the riot are mentally ill.
“A lot of these defendants—and I’m going to use this colloquial term, perhaps disrespectfully—but they’re all fucking short-bus people,” Albert Watkins told Talking Points Memo. Watkins represents Jacob Chansley, known as the QAnon Shaman, who is charged with six felonies in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
— Matt Shuham (@mattshuham) May 18, 2021
“These are people with brain damage, they’re fucking retarded, they’re on the goddamn spectrum,” Watkins continued, adding that his own client has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. “But they’re our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors, our coworkers—they’re part of our country. These aren’t bad people, they don’t have prior criminal history. Fuck, they were subjected to four-plus years of goddamn propaganda the likes of which the world has not seen since fucking Hitler.”
Watkins told the Daily Caller that his “less than politically correct description” of many of the Capitol rioters was deliberate.
“My long standing pleas for compassion and understanding of those involved in the events of January 6 with mental health issues and disabilities have to date fallen on deaf ears. One charged, insensitive, and vulgar statement gave rise to an outburst of the needed attention. I respectfully suggest the next few days and weeks will demonstrate the prudence of this calibrated move,” he said.
“This is an issue which cannot be ignored.” (RELATED: ‘QAnon Shaman’ Hasn’t Eaten In Days, Attorney Says In Motion For Release)
Chansley has become one of the most-recognized Capitol riot defendants. He wore horns, face paint, and furs to the Capitol, where he allegedly left a threatening note on the desk in then-Vice President Mike Pence’s Senate office. Chansley previously attended MAGA and QAnon protests in Arizona, where he wore the same attire.
Chansley told 60 Minutes in a jailhouse interview that he regrets his participation in the Capitol riot “with every fiber of my being.” He also claimed that former President Donald Trump’s decision not to pardon him and other Capitol rioters “wounded [him] so deeply.”
Chansley is charged with civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building. A federal judge denied him bail.