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The ‘QAnon Shaman’ should be given organic food while in jail, says federal judge

Attorney Al Watkins claimed that his client had lost more than 20 pounds and that his condition was "declining."

The ‘QAnon Shaman’ should be given organic food while in jail, says federal judge
Cover Image Source: Cover Image Source: A protester inside the Senate chamber after the U.S. Capitol was breached by a mob during a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

US Capitol rioter Jake Anthony Angeli Chansley — who prefers to be known as the "QAnon Shaman" — should be given organic food while in a Washington, DC, jail, a federal judge said Wednesday. The matter was discussed in court after the infamous 33-year-old went on an apparent hunger strike last week claiming non-organic food sickened him and that it was against his religion. According to CNN, DC District Court Judge Royce Lamberth did not oppose the request for these special accommodations after hearing arguments about Chansley's adherence to Shamanism and taking into account the fact that he had been fed organic food in detention in Arizona.



 

"My client made it clear that while he did not oppose fasting, he was not in a position to put into his body things that shamanism believes to be impure... things that suck the life out of your body," Chansley's attorney Al Watkins said in court Wednesday afternoon. Meanwhile, a person representing the Washington jail said that it would be difficult to accommodate Chansley's special diet because organic meals were not available through any contracted food providers to the jail. The DC Jail had denied the rioter's request on Tuesday to eat only organic food, after he was moved to Washington, DC, to face his charges which include disorderly conduct, violent entry, and illegally being on restricted spaces within the Capitol grounds.



 

The person representing the jail said in court that the jail had found no research to show that an organic diet was a tenet of Shamanism. Emails between the jail and Chansley's lawyers reportedly also show that the jail's general counsel Eric Glover found that Chansley wasn't able to name a religious need for organic food. However, according to Yahoo News, Watkins wrote in a filing on Wednesday that Chansley — who became one of the most notable faces of the January 6 riot after he was seen in photos dressed in horns, a fur headdress, and face paint inside the US Capitol building — had lost more than 20 pounds and that his condition was "declining."



 

Because of his "shamanic belief system and way of life," eating food that isn't organic or has "unnatural chemicals" would cause his client, "systemic responses that are not simply discomforting, but debilitating and, notably, dehydrating," Watkins wrote. "[N]on-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. An 'object intrusion,' is the belief that disease originates outside the body from unhealthy objects coming into the body," he added. "In shamanic traditions, the body, mind, and soul are interconnected, and the well-being of all three are necessary for my client to be able to practice his faith." 



 

According to court documents, Chansley filed the request for organic food last week, asking for some canned vegetables, canned wild-caught tuna, or organic canned soup. He claimed in the request that the last time he ate was the morning of January 25. "I will continue to pray thru the pain and do my best not to complain," Chansley wrote. "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." In a videoconference line from jail to the court Wednesday, Chansley also spoke about a "very delicate chemical balance in my body that affects my serotonin... my appetite, my mood."



 

Meanwhile, Watkins has admitted in court filings that his client wants organic food in prison because he gets gastrointestinal distress from eating non-organic food that may have preservatives in it. A federal judge in Arizona last month ordered Chansley to stay in jail because he "intended his actions to stop the process for the peaceful transition of power" on January 6, was a danger to the community, and could easily flee because he's virtually unrecognizable without his animal-fur headdress costume. The judge also expressed a lack of faith in Chansley following the court's orders for him to face his charges if released. 



 

In an interesting turn of events, it was revealed this week that the rioter is now willing to testify against former President Trump, with whom he was once "horribly smitten." Watkins told reporters that Chansley feels let down by Trump's refusal to grant a pardon to him and others who participated in the insurrection. "He felt like he was betrayed by the president," said Watkins.

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