Within minutes following the first breach, Jacob Chansley, one of the most notorious members of the January 6 mob, rushed inside and began a confrontation with Capitol Police outside the Senate chamber for 30 minutes.
Despite this evidence, Chansley tried overturning his conviction on constitutional grounds, arguing that footage aired in February by then-Fox News personality Tucker Carlson should be considered new evidence.
When juxtaposed with overwhelming evidence of Chansley’s misdeeds, Judge Royce Lamberth argued that the recordings showing Chansley wandering the Capitol hallways lacked relevant context. He could be tempted to give Chansley a longer jail term than the 41 months he received if he were sentenced today instead of in September 2021 when he pled guilty to disrupting Congress’ procedures.
Lamberth said that prosecutors had found gigabytes of additional evidence after Chansley’s sentencing, some of which might contribute to the aggravating elements in the case.
On J6, Chansely walked onto the Senate floor, prayed at the rostrum, and then defied numerous requests from police to leave. He hastily scribbled a letter to Pence, who had been on the same podium minutes earlier: “It’s only a matter of time. Justice will be served!”
Shortly after the Republican takeover of the House in January, Speaker Kevin McCarthy provided Carlson unprecedented access to surveillance footage from the Capitol. After sifting through thousands of hours of tape, he broadcast many previously unseen clips showing Chansley wandering the corridors and interacting with cops who put up no opposition. Carlson didn’t show any clips of Chansley entering the Capitol or other key events that led to his indictment and guilty plea.
Lamberth was not shy in confronting Carlson head-on with his thoughts, labeling his coverage of the events of January 6 as “ill-advised.” He used incendiary descriptions of films taken out of context to cast doubt on the honesty of this Court and the whole American criminal justice system. This Court cannot and will not disregard the facts before it, even if he found it frightening that nationwide viewers so quickly obeyed the host’s instruction.