The Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) latest objection to allegations that it suppressed evidence in its prosecution of Jan. 6, 2021, defendant Jacob Chansley flies in the face of the Sixth Amendment, current and former attorneys of Chansley told The Epoch Times in separate interviews this week.
“They are hiding. They affirmatively are electing not to disclose [exculpatory evidence],” Albert Watkins, Chansley’s former attorney who negotiated the Navy veteran’s 41-month sentencing agreement in 2021, told The Epoch Times on March 14, referring to the DOJ.
“They’re doing so in a fashion which, in my opinion, gives rise to an inescapable conclusion that the Department of Justice has done more damage to our democracy by how it has treated Jan. 6 defendants than anything that had occurred on January 6.”
Watkins was reacting to the DOJ’s March 12 court filing on another Jan. 6, 2021, defendant’s case, in which the government confronted, for the first time in court, the newly surfaced surveillance footage of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach aired by Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Among the footage was a clip showing Chansley, unarmed, walking along with several Capitol Police officers who didn’t attempt to remove him from the Capitol building, which Carlson said shows that Chansley was less violent on Jan. 6, 2021, than described by the government.
Despite the video records of the Navy veteran’s behavior, Chansley’s current and former lawyers argued that the government violated Chansley’s rights by suppressing this evidence during his trial, in response to the DOJ’s claims to the contrary on March 12.
The answer to this debate is important because it shines a light on the government’s prosecutorial conduct in handling Jan. 6, 2021, cases, many of which have ended with swift sentencing.
Chansley is currently serving a 41-month sentence in federal prison after pleading guilty to an obstruction charge in September 2021.
By Gary Bai