Last week, Chansley filed a request for organic food, which he said is all he has eaten for the past eight years, according to court documents. He said the last time he ate was the morning of Jan. 25 and asked for some canned vegetables, canned wild-caught tuna or organic canned soup.
“I will continue to pray thru the pain and do my best not to complain,” Chansley wrote in the request. “I have strayed from my spiritual diet only a few times over the last 8 years with detrimental physical effects. As a spiritual man I am willing to suffer for my beliefs, hold to my convictions, and the weight of their consequences.”
Eric Glover, general counsel for Washington, D.C.,’s Department of Corrections, disputed that Chansley hasn’t eaten in a Tuesday email to Watkins filed in court documents.
At a hearing Friday, a judge urged Chansley’s lawyer to try to work out the issues related to his diet with Glover. Chansley’s request for organic food was denied on Monday, according to the documents, which said his claims had no “religious merit.”
In the filing Wednesday, Watkins called for Chansley to be released before his trial, saying he doesn’t have a criminal history, wasn’t “part of a grand scheme to … overthrow the Government” and that it would remove any issues with Chansley’s “worsening health situation.” Watkins wrote Wednesday that Chansley has also been compliant with the FBI. The judge in the case has said he’d be open to considering bail for him in early March.
The Phoenix man was among the first people indicted by federal prosecutors in wake of the Capitol insurrection that left five people dead. Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, was charged with violating the Federal Anti-Riot Act and obstructing Congress, among other charges. Former President Donald Trump was subsequently impeached for inciting an insurrection. Chansley would also be willing to testify at Trump’s Senate trial next week, Watkins has previously said.
Prosecutors have argued Chansley was “an active participant in” the “violent insurrection,” suggesting charges of sedition or insurrection could be in the works for people involved.
The horns and fur Chansley wore Jan. 6 that made him one of the most recognizable faces of the riots were all part of his “Shaman beliefs,” Watkins wrote in the filing Wednesday.
Watkins also argued in his Wednesday filing that Trump incited the riot by saying “‘if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore” at a rally before the riot. In an interview on CNN in wake of the riots, Watkins said Chansley “felt like he was answering” Trump’s call and called on Trump to give him a pardon.
“He felt like his voice was, for the first time, being heard,” Watkins said of Chansley. “And what ended up happening, over the course of the lead-up to the election, over the course of the period from the election to Jan. 6 — it was a driving force by a man he hung his hat on, he hitched his wagon to. He loved Trump. Every word, he listens to him.”