'QAnon Shaman' Original Lawyer Denies Client Hired New Attorneys to Seek Appeal (Getty Images)
By Brian Freeman | Tuesday, 23 November 2021 12:01 PM
"QAnon Shaman" Jacob Chansley, who was sentenced last week to 41 months in prison for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, did not "personally authorize" the hiring of new lawyers to consider the possibility of appealing his conviction, according to a statement from his original lawyer, NBC News reported on Tuesday.
John Pierce, a lawyer who represents several other Jan. 6 defendants, entered a notice of appearance on Monday in the case of Chansley, who was one of the most recognizable participants in the violent protest at the Capitol, where he wore face paint and a horned, furry hat.
The notice of appearance was followed by a statement from the National Constitutional Law Union (NCLU), a conservative nonprofit founded by Pierce, stating that Pierce and another attorney, William Shipley, would be representing Chansley from now on.
But in response to that statement, Chansley’s original lawyer, Albert Watkins, said he "personally spoke with Mr. Chansley who confirmed he did not personally authorize Mr. Pierce to represent him."
Watkins added in an email to CNBC that "Watkins issued a letter to Mr. Pierce confirming he had not received any contact from Mr. Pierce and requesting the prompt withdrawal of his entry of appearance. No response from Pierce has been forthcoming."
The original statement from the NCLU said Chansley would be "pursuing all remedies available to him under the Constitution and federal statutory law with respect to the outcome of the criminal prosecution of him by the United States Department of Justice," including a possible "direct appeal" of his conviction and his sentence and claims of "ineffective assistance of counsel," NBC reported.
CNBC pointed out that even if a defendant willingly switches lawyers, it is very difficult to have a guilty plea and sentence in federal court reversed on appeal.
A claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, however, is one way that it is possible to obtain such a reversal of a guilty plea.