Supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed Congress in an attempt to overthrow confirmation of Joe Biden’s election win after Trump and others in the GOP for months spread the false notion that widespread voter fraud got Biden elected and cheated the incumbent out of a second term.
As congressional offices and chambers were ransacked, lawmakers hid the Electoral College ballots from the angry mob then took shelter themselves.
Chansley turned himself in three days after the riot, and he was charged with civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, disorderly conduct in a restricted building, demonstrating in a Capitol building, entering a restricted building without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Previously, Watkins told The Daily Beast that his client went “through a period of introspection” after his arrest and soon realized he had been duped by “the propaganda from the former president.”
Watkins appealed to Trump to grant a pardon to his client and other suspected rioters during his final days in office. But a pardon never materialized, leaving Chansley feeling betrayed.
“He loved Trump, every word. He listened to him. He felt like he was answering the call of our president,” Watkins said in an appearance on CNN at the time. “My client wasn’t violent. He didn’t cross over any police lines. He didn’t assault anyone.”
Numerous photographs from the riot scene show Chansley bare-chested and decked out in face paint and pelts while chanting and wielding a spear.
One image shows him standing at the dais where Vice President Mike Pence had stood only minutes earlier as confirmation of Biden’s Electoral College victory got underway.
There, on a stack of papers left behind by lawmakers as they scrambled to flee the mob, Chansley wrote a note saying “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming,” prosecutors alleged.
Video has also emerged of Chansley writing the message as the rioters overran the Capitol chanting “Kill Mike Pence!”
Chansley, however, told the FBI the note was not meant as a threat and went on to call Pence a “child-trafficking traitor.”
This is a developing story. Please stay with AJC.com for the latest updates. Information that appeared previously in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was used to supplement this report.