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“They’re All Fucking Short-Bus People”: Capitol Riot Attorney Manages to Insult At Least Three Different Groups While Defending 1/6 Actions


Generally speaking, when a person is charged with a crime, they hire an attorney who they hope will strenuously defend them, probably not stopping to even entertain the idea that said attorney have a chat with a reporter and manage to insult millions of people in the process. And while it’s not clear if that’s the approach Jacob Chansley—a.k.a. the “QAnon Shaman,“ a.k.a. the shirtless guy who stormed the Capitol on January 6 wearing face paint and a furry hat with horns—took when assembling his legal team, in the future, he should probably plan to ask any potential lawyers, “You’re not going to use the phrase ‘fucking retarded’ while discussing my case, are you?”

Yes, that’s right. In an interview with Talking Points Memo, Chansley‘s lawyer, Albert Watkins, suggested that his client’s mental state, combined with the impact of Donald Trump’s “propaganda” efforts to convince people the election was stolen and that they should storm the Capitol, will play a part in his defense. All of which sounds reasonable! Then Watkins said this: “A lot of these defendants—and I’m going to use this colloquial term, perhaps disrespectfully—but they’re all fucking short-bus people. These are people with brain damage, they’re fucking retarded, they’re on the goddamn spectrum.”

There’s a lot to unpack here, but first, let’s pause to appreciate that Watkins thinks it might be offensive to use the phrase “short bus,” but he really can‘t be sure. The Missouri–based lawyer then goes on to conflate intellectual disabilities, brain damage, and Autism, which of course are three separate things. To say nothing of the fact that there’s no evidence that any of them cause people to act violently, or try to overturn presidential elections. After offending who knows how many people, Watkins—who, incidentally, defended the St. Louis couple who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter activists—charitably added: “But they’re our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors, our coworkers—they’re part of our country. These aren’t bad people, they don’t have prior criminal history. Fuck, they were subjected to four-plus years of goddamn propaganda the likes of which the world has not seen since fucking Hitler.” 

Obviously, it’s entirely true that Trump and his allies spent months insisting that the election had been stolen, before inviting supporters to the “Stop the Steal” rally, and all but walking them to the Capitol. But that argument is unlikely to sway a judge. “It doesn’t matter if they were answering [Trump’s] call in terms of their own guilt or innocence,” Harry Litman, a former U.S. attorney and former deputy assistant attorney general, told TPM reporter Matt Shuham. “The law doesn’t recognize it as an excuse. Whatever brought them there, whatever they were spurred on to do, social media postings or whatever, they’re equally guilty under the federal statutes.” In fact, it didn’t even work to get the QAnon Shaman released from jail before his trial, despite Watkins’s efforts, TPM noted. “Even taking defendant’s claim at face value, it does not persuade the Court that defendant would not pose a danger to others if released,” Judge Royce Lamberth wrote in March. “If defendant truly believes that the only reason he participated in an assault on the U.S. Capitol was to comply with President Trump’s orders, this shows defendant’s inability (or refusal) to exercise his independent judgment and conform his behavior to the law.” 

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Surprise: Kevin McCarthy won’t support a Congressional inquiry to investigate the attack on the Capitol

Such an inquiry might turn up even more evidence that Trump incited the mob that tried to overturn democracy, and the House Republican leader just can’t have that. Per CNN:

McCarthy’s opposition to the bipartisan agreement for an independent commission comes ahead of a House vote this week to create the panel modeled after the 9/11 Commission, which would be tasked with investigating the circumstances behind supporters of then-President Donald Trump breaching the Capitol to try to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote for President Joe Biden. The bipartisan agreement to establish the January 6 commission was reached last week by House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson and the panel’s top Republican, Rep. John Katko of New York, who was one of the 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump in the wake of the January 6 attack on the Capitol.





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