CLAYTON, Mo–Al Watkins, the St. Louis attorney who is again in the national spotlight, joined Fox 2 News for an in-depth interview, Friday. Watkins, represents Jacob Chansley, 33, who Watkins says is a real life shaman.
Chansley is now world famous after being photographed repeatedly inside in the U.S. Capitol, shirtless while wearing a fur helmet with horns and carrying a spear on January 6th. He’s in federal custody and faces up to 20 years in prison, if convicted, for his role in the deadly melee, Watkins said.
It was a wide-ranging interview, lasting more than 30 minutes. Watkins talked about his new client, the case against him, and Watkins’ role as ringmaster in a legal circus of recent cases.
Chansley truly thought he was acted at the behest of President Trump, Watkins said.
“My client’s in there, happy, giddy, like the high school football team, revved up by the coach, go get ‘em, right before the game, off they go!” Watkins said of Chansley’s actions. “When Trump said, ‘everybody go home’, (Chansley’s) holding up his phone, the guy’s saying, ‘everybody we have to go home. The President says, go home’.”
“The shaman’s saying that?” asked Fox 2’s Andy Banker.
“Yeah,” Watkins replied. “My client didn’t fight with police. He didn’t break through barricades.”
This case follows Watkins’ high-profile representation of the McCloskeys, the couple who flourished weapons at protesters near their St. Louis home this summer.
In recent years, Watkins is also credited with helping to take down former Missouri Governor, Eric Greitens, when Watkins represented the ex-husband of Greitens’ alleged mistress.
Enter Jacob Chansley, who lives in Phoenix, not St. Louis. Chansley mentioned the McCloskey case as a reason for seeking Watkins’ help, Watkins said.
Watkins admits he often feeds the media’s appetite for interviews but says that has nothing to do with chasing celebrity for himself.
“I am not the show. I’m not even a side show,” he said. “I can mute the cries for (Chansley) to be hung as a traitor. I can change the dynamic and the dialogue that’s going on and have us all take that step back that we need to.”
So, with the country still reeling from the events of January 6th, Watkins says he’ll take what may seem to be outlandish steps, if that’s what’s best for client.
“Come at me, give me your best shot, do what you’ve got to do. Challenge me. It helps. My duty is to my client, not you and certainly not everyone else,” he said.
He says he’s spoken to President Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows. He has now submitted a formal request for a presidential pardon for Chansley and has just added this nugget about potentially taking the case to trial.
“If I did the first witness I called would be, Donald Trump,” he said.
That is why a case like this has again come his way, he said.