Elon Musk, the CEO of Twitter and the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, has expressly called for the release of Jacob Chansley, also known as the “QAnon Shaman,” who was sentenced to almost four years in federal prison for his involvement in the January 6 Capitol protest.
Musk took to Twitter last week to express his support for Chansley, arguing that he was “falsely portrayed” in the media as a violent criminal who tried to overthrow the federal government and urged others to commit violence. Musk shared footage from January 6, which showed Chansley urging protestors to go home and calmly walking inside the Capitol Building while being escorted by officers and thanking them.
Free Jacob Chansley https://t.co/8BbeXF2Fye
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 10, 2023
“We made our point. Donald Trump asked everybody to go home,” Chansley called out to the crowd gathered outside the Capitol building.
Chansley, a United States Navy veteran, was one of the first 30 persons to enter the Capitol on January 6, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). He pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing an official proceeding and was then sentenced to 41 months in federal prison in November 2021.
I’m not part of MAGA, but I do believe in fairness of justice.
Chansley was falsely portrayed in the media as a violent criminal who tried to overthrow the state and who urged others to commit violence.
But here he is urging people to be peaceful and go home. And the other… https://t.co/XU8vISJaNy
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 11, 2023
The recent release of footage by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, obtained from newly elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), has led many to question the fairness of Chansley’s sentencing.
The footage published by Carlson shows Chansley leisurely strolling through the Capitol Building, hardly being challenged or acknowledged by Capitol Police, as he and officers searched for an unlocked door into the Senate chamber. Once inside the chamber, Chansley took the seat on the dais occupied by Vice President Mike Pence earlier in the day to offer a prayer of thanks.
“Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the inspiration needed to these police officers to allow us into this building,” Chansley prayed aloud.
Musk’s support for Chansley has headlined the debate on social media about the fairness of his sentencing and the portrayal of Chansley in the media. While some have argued that Chansley’s involvement was a serious offense and that his sentencing was justified, others have pointed to the footage as evidence that Chansley was not a violent criminal and that his actions were being unfairly portrayed in the media.
The debate over Chansley’s sentencing has also highlighted broader issues around the criminal justice system and the treatment of individuals involved in the January 6 protests. Critics have argued that some defendants have been treated more harshly than others based on their political affiliations or the severity of their perceived involvement.