An accused Capitol rioter asked for a separate trial after the ‘QAnon Shaman’ lawyer said insurrectionists have ‘brain damage’

Capitol riot
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021.

  • The QAnon Shaman’s lawyer went viral after offensively describing the Capitol riot defendants.
  • The lawyer, Albert Watkins, called them “f—ing short-bus people,” and “people with brain damage.”
  • Now one of the defendants wants a separate trial, saying Watkins’ remarks will prejudice a jury.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

An accused member of the Proud Boys who was charged in the Capitol riots argued Tuesday that a lawyer’s offensive comments about his fellow defendants’ mental states will “directly impact” his right to a fair trial.

Christopher Kuehne, 47, is charged with conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, as well as impeding or interfering with law enforcement during the commission of a civil disorder during the January 6 insurrection. Kuehne has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Though Kuehne was set to be prosecuted alongside five co-defendants in a joint jury trial, his attorney, Marina Medvin, filed a motion Tuesday asking a judge to sever his case from the group and grant Kuehne a separate trial.

Melvin argued Kuehne’s case should be separated because two of his co-defendants are represented by the lawyer Albert Watkins, whose comments to Talking Points Memo went viral earlier Tuesday.

“A lot of these defendants – and I’m going to use this colloquial term, perhaps disrespectfully – but they’re all f—ing short-bus people,” Watkins told the publication. “These are people with brain damage, they’re f—ing retarded, they’re on the goddamn spectrum.”

He continued: “But they’re our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors, our coworkers – they’re part of our country. These aren’t bad people, they don’t have prior criminal history. F—, they were subjected to four-plus years of goddamn propaganda the likes of which the world has not seen since f—ing Hitler.”

qanon shaman jacob chansley jake angeli capitol riot
Jacob Chansley, known as the QAnon Shaman, screams “Freedom” inside the Senate chamber after the U.S. Capitol was breached by a mob during a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Watkins didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Watkins is best known for representing Jacob Chansley, the so-called QAnon Shaman pictured at the Capitol clad in a headdress with horns and face paint. Watkins also represents Felicia and Cory Konold, who are accused alongside Kuehne of forcing their way into the Capitol and ensuring the building’s underground tunnels remained open for other rioters to pass through.

Kuehne’s lawyer argued that Watkins’ comments were “highly inflammatory and derogatory.” Trying Kuehne alongside the Konolds would be “inherently unfair,” she wrote in the filing.

She argued the comments could essentially offer a preview into Watkins’ defense strategy for the Konolds: convincing the jury they are not mentally competent.

“Unlike his codefendants, Mr. Kuehne’s defense strategy does not include self-degradation, nor an insanity plea,” Medvin wrote in her filing.

She continued: “The statements of co-defendants’ counsel are as shockingly inculpatory as they are irredeemably insulting. Unlike his co-defendants, Mr. Kuehne is not willing to throw in the towel, nor to throw an entire political party under the bus through cheap ‘Nazi’ comparisons.”

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