WASHINGTON (US) – Federal prosecutors put forth an new assessment of last week’s breach of the US Capitol by President Donald Trump’s supporters on Thursday, saying in a court filing that rioters wanted “to capture and assassinate elected officials.”
Prosecutors offered that view in a filing asking a judge to detain Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man and QAnon conspiracy theorist who was famously photographed donning horns as he was before the desk of Vice President Mike Pence in the chamber of the US Senate.
The detention memo, written by Justice Department lawyers in Arizona, throws light on the FBI’s investigation into Chansley, highlighting that he left a note for Pence warning that “it’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”
Prosecutors wrote, “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.”
Chansley is likely to appear in federal court on Friday.
The prosecutors’ assessment comes after prosecutors and federal agents have started presenting more serious charges connected to violence at the Capitol, including revealing cases Thursday against one man, retired firefighter Robert Sanford, on charges that a fire extinguisher was hurled by him at the head of one police officer and another, Peter Stager, of beating a different officer with a pole bearing an American flag.
In Chansley’s case, prosecutors said the charges “involve active participation in an insurrection attempting to violently overthrow the United States government”. It warned that “the insurrection is still in progress” as law enforcement prepares for more demonstrations in Washington and state capitals.
They also suggested he suffers from drug abuse and mental illness, and told the judge he is subject to a serious flight risk.
They wrote. “Chansley has spoken openly about his belief that he is an alien, a higher being, and he is here on Earth to ascend to another reality.”
The Justice Department has brought more than 80 criminal cases in connection with the violent riots at the US Capitol last week.
Michael Sherwin, the Acting US Attorney for the District of Columbia, has said that while many of the initial charges might look like minor, he expects much more serious charges to be filed as the Justice Department’s investigation continues.