U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth agreed Wednesday to a request from Jacob Chansley, the 33-year-old “QAnon Shaman” arrested for participation in the Jan. 6 violent siege of the U.S. Capitol, that he be served only organic food in the D.C. correctional facility. Chansley’s “shamanic belief system and way of life” includes a strict organic diet, his lawyer Albert Watkins wrote in a brief Wednesday, and if his client eats foods with “unnatural chemicals,” the result is “systemic responses that are not simply discomforting, but debilitating and, notably, dehydrating.”
Watkins said Chansley, who also goes by the name Jake Angeli, has not eaten since Jan. 25 and has lost more than 20 pounds in jail. Eric Glover, general counsel for the D.C. Department of Corrections, said Tuesday it isn’t true that Chansley has fasted for more than a week. The Department of Corrections said in a filing Monday that his request for organic food had no “religious merit,” and the department elaborated on Wednesday, saying an exclusively organic diet “is a tenet of that religion.”
Chansley, a resident of Phoenix, was one of a handful of rioters filmed storming the Senate chamber and sitting in former Vice President Mike Pence’s seat, and his distinctive garb made him one of the first people arrested. Federal authorities say he admitted to leaving a note for “child-trafficking traitor” Pence, saying: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” He told the FBI that wasn’t meant as a threat.
In a handwritten note, Chansley told the court he’s eaten almost exclusively “traditional food that has been made by God” for eight years, and he “humbly” requested “a few organic canned vegetables, canned tuna (wild caught), or organic canned soups,” adding: “I will continue to pray through the pain and do my best not to complain. I simply ask that you understand that the physical effects of not eating organic are harmful to my body & bio-chemistry.”