On January 6, after a group of Donald Trump's supporters stormed and vandalized the U.S. Capitol building, photographs of a rioter named Jacob Chansley immediately went viral. Also known as the QAnon Shaman, Chansley has since become one of the most recognizable faces of the riot, largely thanks to his bizarre appearance.
In an interview with Missouri's NBC-affiliated television station KSDK on Thursday, Chansley's lawyer Al Watkins indicated that his legal strategy will be to blame Trump for inciting the riots and "duping" his client and other protesters to storm the Capitol building and overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Watkins explicitly accused Trump of inciting the riots with his rhetoric, saying that the former commander-in-chief is on the record telling his followers to attack lawmakers in order to prevent them from certifying Democrat Joe Biden's win in the presidential race.
"Let's roll the months of lies, and misrepresentations and horrific innuendo and hyperbolic speech by our president designed to inflame, enrage, motivate. What's really curious is the reality that our president, as a matter of public record, invited these individuals... to walk down to the Capitol with him."Chansley regrets his actions, Watkins continued, and believes that he was "duped" by Trump. "He regrets very very much... having just been duped by the president," the lawyer said.
Watkins explained that his client's interests include organic food and mediation, suggesting that he did not go to Washington D.C. to commit crimes and violent acts and arguing that "we cannot simply wave a magic wand and label all these people on January 6 the same."
As Politico reported, Chansley was indicted last week on six charges. He was accused of obstructing a a congressional proceeding and impeding law enforcement, both of which are felonies. On top of that, authorities claim that he is guilty of four misdemeanors and part of a nationwide insurrection movement.
Other protesters have blamed Trump for their troubles.
Last week, Texas real estate broker Jenna Ryan called on Trump to grant her and other rioters a pardon and claimed that she was simply doing what the commander-in-chief told her to do. Ryan was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and will almost certainly face legal consequences for her actions.
Trump left office on Wednesday, without pardoning any of the rioters. However, he issued a slew of pardons to friends, allies and confidants, including his former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.