Jake Angeli, whose real name is Jacob Anthony Chansley, is a 33-year-old Arizona man who is facing criminal charges in connection with the January 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol building. Chansley can be seen in several photos and videos taken inside the Capitol during the occupation, including one photo showing him standing behind the Senate dais, wearing a horned helmet with his face painted red, white and blue.
Chansley told the FBI he went to the Capitol “at the request of the President,” according to the affidavit of probable cause filed in his case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Saturday — three days after the breach — that Chansley had been arrested on charges of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
A detention memo filed in his case January 14 asked that he remain incarcerated pending trial, saying he “made himself the most prominent symbol of…a violent insurrection that attempted to overthrow the United States Government.” He is scheduled to appear in court for a detention hearing at 2:30 p.m. January 15.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Chansley Called Into the FBI & Identified Himself, Saying Trump Sent Him to the Capitol
Chansley was carrying a 6-foot spear with an American flag tied onto it during the siege of the Capitol, according to the criminal complaint filed in his case. He called into the FBI himself and talked to agents voluntarily. He said that he and other “patriots” went to the Capitol “at the request of the President,” an FBI agent wrote in the affidavit.
“In addition, on January 7, 2021, CHANSLEY called in to the Washington Field Office of the FBI, to voluntarily speak with law enforcement,” the affidavit says. “Your affiant and an FBI agent spoke on the phone with CHANSLEY, who confirmed that he was the male in the face paint and headdress in the Vice President’s chair in the Senate. CHANSLEY stated that he came as a part of a group effort, with other ‘patriots’ from Arizona, at the request of the President that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021.”
Authorities matched images of Chansley to his social media pages, Arizona driver’s license and YouTube account.
“Media coverage of these events showed one of the rioters who entered the Capitol building dressed in horns, a bearskin headdress, red, white and blue face paint, shirtless, and tan pants,” the complaint said. “This individual carried a spear, approximately 6 feet in length, with an American flag tied just below the blade. The screenshots below of photographs posted on Twitter show this individual in the halls of Congress and standing on the dais inside the Senate chamber.”
Chansley told The Arizona Republic he chooses his protest outfit to attract attention, and that it helps to spread his message from QAnon.
Chansley described the siege of the Capitol as a victory in an interview with NBC News prior to his arrest.
“The fact that we had a bunch of our traitors in office hunker down, put on their gas masks and retreat into their underground bunker, I consider that a win,” he said.
Chansley was also pictured with Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in Phoenix in November 2020 at a hearing to discuss allegations of voter fraud. Chansley shared the photo on his Facebook page, which has now been taken down.
“I’m at the hearing today in PHX AZ…got to shake Rudy’s hand, and meet the warrior woman Chanel Rion from OAN!” he wrote November 30. “What an honor it is to be present for this historic meeting and meet such awesome patriots in the process. HOLD THE LINE PATRIOTS! USA WILL PREVAIL, WE WILL STOP THE STEAL! CUZ AS ALWAYS GOD WINS!”
He also said he sat in Vice President Mike Pence’s chair. A photo showing him behind the Senate dais was in his charging document.
The detention memo filed in his case said that he should remain incarcerated in part because he planned to attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
” Chansley is an active participant in—and has made himself the most prominent symbol of—a violent insurrection that attempted to overthrow the United States Government on January 6, 2021. Chansley has expressed interest in returning to Washington, D.C. for President-Elect Biden’s inauguration and has the ability to do so if the Court releases him. No conditions can reasonably assure his appearance as required, nor ensure the safety of the community,” it said.
2. Chansley Has a YouTube Channel With 1 Video Sharing ‘The Secrets of the Universe’
Chansley has a YouTube channel under his real name. It includes only one video, “Secrets Of The Universe: Energy, Frequency & Vibration,” which was posted in February 2019.
“… everything is based off of the infinite probability waves of the quantum state of the universe being funneled down into a single perceivable stream of reality that is able to be perceived by the human body, the five senses and the mind,” he says on the video.
In the video, he talks about Nikola Tesla, harmonic resonance and quantic computation. The video had about 7,300 views the afternoon of Saturday, January 9, 2021. He had 105 subscribers on the account at that time. He references previous videos, but those were not available on his channel. The video is about nine and a half minutes long.
“Learn the secrets of the universe in this in depth master class on how energy, frequency and vibration play a vital role in all of existence as well as our perception of reality and the way life functions in our particular realm of existence,” the video description says.
Chansley also had a profile on Backstage which identified him as an “actor/voice over artist and singer” based in Phoenix. It says he volunteered at theater camp with the Free Arts of Arizona in July 2018. He wrote “Jacob Chansley” under “manager” and listed skills including public speaking and screenwriting.
The Independent reported that Chansley’s profile on Backstage.com in part perpetuated theories he was a paid actor or member of Antifa. Those theories have been debunked by federal authorities, they said.
The Arizona Republic reported he identified himself publicly as Angeli, but that court records show he petitioned to have his name legally changed to Jacob Anthony Angeli Chansley in 2005. He wrote in the court petition that Angeli is his mother’s last name.
“I want my last name to be that of my step-father, my dad. I was not legally adopted by my step-father while a minor,” he wrote.
3. Chansley Has Appeared at Phoenix Protests Including a Black Lives Matter Rally
The Arizona Republic has reported on Chansley appearing at multiple protests in the Phoenix area and reported he is always there in support of Trump and QAnon conspiracy theories. He held a tattered sign at a protest in February 2020 that said “Q sent me.” Chansley asked others in the crowd if they were familiar with QAnon, getting some affirmative nods in response, the newspaper reported.
“You all know who Q is?” he shouted to a passerby.
He elaborated, saying Q was “a government agent who wanted to ‘take the country back’ from pedophiles and globalists.”
He was also pictured by the newspaper in August 2012 at the state capitol, where he was protesting the closure of schools due to COVID-19.
He was at nearly every march, rally and protest in the Phoenix area during the 2020 election campaign, the Republic reported, and was in the crowd protesting outside election headquarters as votes were being counted. The newspaper said he seemed to hold a leadership role and was often a featured speaker. He was typically carrying a sign that said “Q sent me,” referencing the anonymous leader of conspiracy theory QAnon.
Along with the existence of his Backstage.com profile, Chansley’s appearance at a Phoenix-area Black Lives Matter rally was another fact cited in arguments that rioters responsible for the Capitol breach weren’t actual Trump supporters, but were antifa members in disguise.
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin was among those to promote the theory that the protesters were not Trump supporters.
“Media: quit labeling DC protestors ‘Conservatives, Republicans, Tea Partiers, Trump Supporters, etc’ LOOK IN TO WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE who’d choose an apparent leaderless insane swarm to create a perception of condoned violence. KNOCK IT OFF,” she wrote on Twitter. “And to any insincere, fake DC ‘patriots’ used as PLANTS – you will be found out.”
According to The Arizona Republic, Chansley attended the Black Lives Matter rally to spread the message from “Q.”
“He said he attended those events to spread the word of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which falsely imagines that Trump is investigating corruption and crimes against children committed by high-level politicians,” The Arizona Republic reported.
4. Chansley Volunteered With an Arts Organization That Served At-Risk Youth
The Arizona Republic reported Chansley lived in the Phoenix area, but the way he earned a living was unclear. The newspaper said he was listed on a webpage as a voice-over actor, and that he sold online courses in shamanistic studies. He also told the newspaper he volunteered for an arts organization in Phoenix that served at-risk youth.
“A few days a week — when the spirit moved him, Angeli told The Republic in a 2020 interview — he would stand alone outside the Arizona state Capitol and shout diatribes at the buildings, regardless of whether the Legislature was in session or not,” the newspaper reported.
5. Chansley Claims Capitol Police Tried to Stop Him & Eventually Let Him in, Which is Disputed
Chansley claimed that Capitol Police let him into the building. This was a claim that was disputed by other people who were there. A person who shot video used to circulate the claim said that police did not let protesters enter the Capitol.
“They definitely didn’t just open the barriers, the pro-Trump rioters made a fist like they were going to punch the cops, which is why I started recording, then they backed off the barricades. Completely outnumbered, there wouldn’t have been any point in fighting,” witness Marcus DiPaolo said in an interview with New York Magazine’s Justin Miller.
He added “No, the barrier was there, protesters just pushed it aside and the cops abandoned their post.”
DiPaolo said the superior officers did not give adequate reinforcements to the cops on the ground, “hoping to avoid inflaming tensions.”
About 15 minutes before the breach, he said police were outnumbered “100 to 1.”
“The cops ran to the steps to try to form a line with their asps, got overwhelmed and pushed back up to the top,” DiPaolo said.
Chansley told Adrian Morrow of the Globe and Mail in Toronto that police let them in the Capitol. He wrote on Twitter, “I spoke with Jake Angeli, the QAnon guy who got inside the Senate chamber. He said police eventually gave up trying to stop him and other Trump supporters, and let them in. After a while, he said police politely asked him to leave and let him go without arrest.”