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Lawyer representing Capitol rioter files for his emergency release

Attorney Albert Watkins has filed an emergency motion, addressing Jacob Chansley's “non-consumption of food” over seven days

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis lawyer representing one of the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol in January has filed for his emergency release from prison, citing health issues and a lack of organic food.

On Jan. 6, a crowd of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol while lawmakers were working to confirm Joe Biden's presidential election win.

One of those people, 33-year-old Jacob Chansley, was photographed inside the Capitol wearing a furry hat with horns, face paint and no shirt as part of the group of rioters. He has also been known as the "QAnon Shaman." 

A few weeks later, he was charged in federal court with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

This week, his attorney Albert Watkins, who is based in St. Louis, filed an emergency motion, addressing Chansley’s “non-consumption of food” for more than a week, significant weight loss and other health factors.

According to the motion, Chansley is a “long-standing” follower of Shamanism, which is a faith that is recognized by the U.S. government.  

Based on his religious beliefs, consuming non-organic food, which contains unnatural chemicals, would act as an “object intrusion” onto his body and “cause serious illness if he were to eat it.”

While he was in custody in Phoenix, Chansley made it known to the government that he needed to have organic food, according to the motion. At his detention hearing in Phoenix, the judge directed the provision of organic food for him.

After that, he remained in COVID-19 isolation until he passed a COVID-19 test. He was then transferred to a facility in Washington that would not recognize the “Court directed protocols” in relation to the provision of organic food, the filing states.

The motion states Chansley lost 20 pounds during the span of a week since he has not been able to have access to organic food.

On Feb. 2, the District of Columbia Department of Corrections told Chansley's legal counsel that his request for organic food was denied due to his failure to identify a faith/belief upon entering DOC's custody. The department also said its religious services staff failed “to find any religious merit pertaining to organic food or diet for Shamanism Practitioner," the motion stated.

See the full motion statement below:

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