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'QAnon Shaman' and Other Jan. 6 Rioters Regret Pleading Guilty

After apologizing for his actions and being sentenced to 41 months in prison, Jake Angeli, nicknamed the ‘QAnon Shaman’ for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, is hoping to have his guilty plea reversed. A judge had previously called his apology "the most remarkable I've heard in 34 years,” the BBC reports. Angeli is currently out of jail and his remorse is gone. "Regrets only weigh down the mind," he told the BBC. "They're like sandbags on a hot air balloon." Since Jan. 6, 2021, over 1,000 people have been charged for participating in the riots, and almost half have pleaded guilty. But chatter on online forums and media coverage shows a small but growing number have started to have a change of heart.

Facing 30 days in jail and three years of probation, Athanasios Zoyganeles pleaded guilty last year to illegally demonstrating in the Capitol. He has since changed his mind. He told a reporter this month that he didn't do anything wrong and had been coerced into an admission. A number of rioters have tried to capitalize on their involvement in the riots. Derrick Evans, a former member of the West Virginia state legislature, resigned his post after being arrested, pleaded guilty, apologized in court, and served three months in prison. Now he is running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and he refers to himself and other defendants as "political prisoners". Some rioters have been able to raise funds -- or social media clout -- off of their newfound fame. On one popular Christian site, GiveSendGo, at least 150 campaigns mentioning the Capitol riot which have collectively raised more than $4.1 million. Legally, rioters who try to take back a guilty plea are getting into potentially risky territory, said John P. Gross, a criminal law expert at the University of Wisconsin. It's rare for courts to allow someone to do that, and when they do, they run the risk of facing a new trial -- something that federal prosecutors have underlined in their response to Angeli's case. "I wouldn't endorse it as a legal strategy," Gross said.


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