The lawyer for the Capitol riot suspect known as the QAnon Shaman in an interview Tuesday ripped rioters as “short-bus people,” and said the world hasn’t seen “propaganda” like it has in the last four-plus years since Adolf Hitler.
Albert Watkins, who is representing the QAnon Shaman, made the comments in an interview with Talking Points Memo while discussing his client’s case.
He told the outlet that his client — his real name is Jacob Chansley — fell under the influence of former President Trump’s “propaganda,” suggesting that would be part of his defense strategy.
“A lot of these defendants — and I’m going this colloquial term, perhaps disrespectfully — but they’re all [expletive] short-bus people…These are people with brain damage, they’re [expletive] retarded, they’re on the [expletive] spectrum,” Mr. Watkins said.
“Short-bus people” is derogatory slang for mentally handicapped children.
Mr. Watkins said his client has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism.
“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. … They were subjected to four-plus years of goddamn propaganda the likes of which the world has not seen since [expletive] Hitler,” he continued.
Mr. Chansley is one of the most recognizable individuals arrested in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. He was photographed shirtless inside the U.S. Senate chamber, wearing red, white and blue face print and animal fur headdress, and carrying a flagpole with a speared top.
He has pleaded not guilty to charges of civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, violent entry, and disorderly conduct.
Federal prosecutors say he was a leader within the QAnon conspiracy movement, which baselessly claims Mr. Trump is fighting a global pedophile ring established by the elite and powerful in the U.S. government.
In March, a federal judge rejected Mr. Chansley’s claim that he should be released from jail because he fell under the former president’s influence. The judge ruled that Mr. Chansley must remain in jail ahead of trial.