Federal prosecutors say Capitol rioters intended to ‘capture and assassinate’ elected officials
WASHINGTON, DC — Federal prosecutors offered the most chilling description yet of rioters who seized the Capitol last week, writing in a new court filing Friday that the intention was “to capture and assassinate elected officials.”
The view was included in a memo seeking to keep Jacob Anthony Chansley, who rallied people inside the Capitol using a bullhorn, in detention. According to Capitol Police information included in the filing, Chansley was notable for his headdress, face paint and carrying of a six-foot spear.
“Strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government,” government prosecutors wrote.
The allegations, written by Justice Department lawyers in Arizona, come as the government have begun describing in more alarming terms what transpired.
In a separate case, prosecutors in Texas court alleged that a retired Air Force reservist who carried plastic zip tie-like restraints on the Senate floor may have intended to restrain lawmakers.
Chansley is due in federal court in Arizona on Friday for a detention hearing.
“He loved Trump, every word. He listened to him. He felt like he was answering the call of our president,” Chansley’s attorney Al Watkins, appearing on CNN Thursday night, said. ” My client wasn’t violent. He didn’t cross over any police lines. He didn’t assault anyone.” Watkins said Chansley also hopes for a presidential pardon.
Prosecutors describe those who took over the Capitol as “insurrectionists” and offer new details about Chansley’s role in the violent siege last week, including that after standing at the dais where Vice President Mike Pence had stood that morning, Chansley wrote a note saying “it’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”
Chansley later told the FBI he did not mean the note as a threat but said the Vice President was a “child-trafficking traitor” and went on a long diatribe about Pence, Biden and other politicians as traitors.
Before he was arrested, Chansley told the FBI he wanted to return to Washington for the inauguration to protest.
Prosecutors accuse Chansley of being a flight risk who can quickly raise money through non-traditional means as “one of the leaders and mascots of QAnon, a group commonly referred to as a cult (which preaches debunked and fictitious anti-government conspiracy theory).”
They also said Chansley suffers from mental illness and is a regular drug user, according to prosecutors’ detention memo.