When "QAnon shaman" Jake Angeli Chansley faced the court to be sentenced for his part in the Jan. 6 riots on Capitol Hill, he begged for leniency and declared himself a changed man.
"I am truly, truly repentant for my actions, because repentance is not just saying you're sorry," he said. "Repentance is apologising and then moving in the exact opposite direction of the sin that you committed. …
Chansley spoke confidently as he addressed the court, making direct eye contact with Judge Lamberth as he referenced the bible and recited quotes from writer Max De Pree and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to argue that he is not the same person who stormed the Capitol.
"I want to grow beyond what it is that I was," Chansley said.
Lamberth, in response, called Chansley's remarks "the most remarkable I've heard in my 34 years … akin to the types of things Martin Luther King might have said."
Angeli now wants the world to know he was just doing it to get a shorter stint in jail–a position in which he is joined by a growing number of co-defendants.
Angeli is out of jail early, and his remorse is gone. "Regrets only weigh down the mind," he told the BBC. "They're like sandbags on a hot air balloon."His about-face is such that he is even taking his case back to court to ask his guilty plea to be reversed. And he is far from the alone in changing his mind about the events at the Capitol.
He probably wants to get back into the good graces of an audience which doesn't trust him now because of his old courtroom apology. Even so, "I only plead guilty to get it over with" isn't about him, it's about the legal system's sleazy, threat-driven charade of plea bargaining–and courts that more harshly punish defendants who refuse to play along. If they didn't do that, Chansley would have had no incentive to get it over with, Judge Lamberth wouldn't have shat his robes, and you wouldn't still be reading about it.