PHOENIX – The QAnon-supporting man who briefly took the dais during the storming of the U.S. Capitol — while wearing a fur hat topped with buffalo horns and wielding a spear — has been arrested, the Justice Department announced Saturday.
Jake Angeli, of Phoenix, had been on the list of persons the Metropolitan Police of Washington D.C. said it wanted the public’s help in finding after the deadly siege of the Capitol building Wednesday by supporters of President Donald Trump.
Angeli was charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
He was taken into custody Saturday morning in Phoenix, according to the Justice Department. He’s expected to have an initial appearance in federal court next week in Phoenix, a Justice spokesperson told The Arizona Republic.
He was among three men charged on Saturday in federal court in connection with the riots.
In a statement of facts, filed to secure an arrest warrant for Angeli, a Capitol Police special agent said he was able to identify Angeli through his “unique attire and extensive tattoos covering his arms and left side of his torso.
Angeli, according to the statement of facts, called the FBI on his own Thursday and confirmed he was the person who briefly was at the dais of the U.S. Senate.
Angeli told the FBI he came to D.C. “as 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,” the statement of facts reads.
The affidavit and arrest warrant were signed by a magistrate judge on Friday.
The Justice Department’s release said that Angeli was the man seen in extensive media coverage “dressed in horns, a bearskin headdress, red, white and blue face paint, shirtless, and tan pants. This individual carried a spear, approximately 6 feet in length, with an American flag tied just below the blade,” according to the Justice Department.
The Justice Department identified him as “Jacob Anthony Chansley, a.k.a. Jake Angeli, of Arizona.”
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Though he identified himself publicly as Angeli, court records show he petitioned to have his name legally changed to Jacob Anthony Angeli Chansley in 2005.
In the court petition, he wrote, “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 said Angeli was his mother’s last name.
Also charged Saturday were Derrick Evans, a recently elected member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, and Adam Johnson of Florida, who was photographed carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern Wednesday.
Angeli was recognizable to Arizonans as soon as images of the Capitol raid emerged. For the past two years, he had appeared in similar garb, becoming a fixture at political rallies, marches and protests. Besides his attention-getting outfit, Angeli had a booming voice that, without need of amplification, could be easily heard among a crowd.
Angeli, reached on his cell phone on the night of the Capitol invasion, refused an interview with The Arizona Republic, unhappy with his portrayal in previous stories and videos.
However, he did speak with NBC News on Thursday, as he was beginning his return trip to Arizona.
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Angeli told NBC News he thought the day was a political success. “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,” he said. “I consider that a win.”
He also said he didn’t do anything wrong by entering the U.S. Capitol. “I walked through an open door, dude,” he said.
Photos showed Angeli, at one point, assuming the dais of the U.S. Senate. It was the same spot where Vice President Mike Pence had stood earlier that day to preside over the joint session of Congress that was set to certify the election for Joe Biden.
That session was delayed for some six hours as Senators and Representatives were hustled out of the chambers and into safety.
Angeli became one of dozens of people arrested and charged out of the events of that day.
In a conference call of federal officials on Friday, January 8, Steven D’Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI Washington field office, said, “Just because you’ve left the D.C. region, you can still expect a knock on your door if we find out you were part of the criminal activity at the Capitol.”
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The Republic interviewed Angeli during 2020 as part of a series of stories and a mini-documentary on the Patriot movement in Arizona, the increasingly powerful right-wing of the Republican party. Some adherents promoted conspiracy theories including the baseless idea of QAnon.
Angeli lived in Phoenix, but it was not clear what he did for a living.
He was listed on a webpage for voice-over actor for hire. He also sold online courses in shamanistic studies. He said he also volunteered for an arts organization in Phoenix that worked with 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.
During the 2020 campaign, Angeli was at nearly every march, rally or protest in the Phoenix area. After Election Day, Angeli was among the crowd that protested outside elections headquarters as the counting went on inside. He seemed to take a leadership role, often being one of the featured speakers.
Angeli typically carried a cardboard sign that looked intentionally weathered. It read: Q Sent Me.
It was a reference to the QAnon conspiracy theory that Angeli believed and wished to share with others.
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QAnon is a wide-ranging conspiracy theory. But its central belief is this: A government official with top-secret “Q” clearance anonymously posted cryptic clues about secret investigations being conducted by Trump into a “deep state” cabal of elites that controlled a child sex trafficking ring.
Angeli said that his research into the secretive groups he believes control the world — Illuminati, Trilateral Commission and Bilderberg group, among others — predated the rise of the QAnon movement.
“When you really do enough research,” he said, “it all ties together.”
Anne Ryman contributed to this report.
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