An Iowa man pictured prominently with a QAnon shirt ahead of a crowd of insurgents inside the US Capitol during the January 6 attack has asked a judge to release him from jail, saying “he feels deceived, recognising that he bought into a pack of lies”.
In a document filed by his lawyer, Douglas Jensen said he believed he was a “true patriot” for going to Washington at the urging of then-president Donald Trump. He said his intention was to only observe.
Mr Jensen, of Des Moines, claims he is “a victim of numerous conspiracy theories that were being fed to him over the internet by a number of very clever people, who were uniquely equipped with slight, if any, moral or social consciousness”.
Mr Jensen’s lawyer, Christoper Davis said in the document that Mr Jensen was not part of any mob and simply went to Washington to watch. Mr Davis acknowledged the Iowan was in front of a crowd but argued he did that “for the now disclosed silly reason” to show his QAnon shirt to get it recognised.
Mr Davis said Mr Jensen neither threatened physical harm to anyone nor destroyed property. Mr Jensen had his work pocketknife on him for protection when he went to the Trump rally preceding the march to the Capitol, Mr Davis said in the court filing.
Video and photographs of Mr Jensen have been widely distributed, showing him wearing a QAnon shirt as he pursued Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman as a mob follows them up the stairs inside the Capitol.
Officer Goodman was later hailed as a hero after leading senior Democrat Mitt Romney away from the mob, and singlehandedly steering rioters away from the Senate chambers.
Mr Davis said Mr Jensen had been in custody since he turned himself in on January 9, “languishing in a DC Jail cell, locked down most of the time, he feels deceived, recognising that he bought into a pack of lies”.
Mr Jensen is scheduled to appear at an arraignment on Tuesday (US time) before a federal judge in Washington.
In February, federal prosecutors upgraded the charges filed against him to include entering a restricted building with a dangerous weapon and disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building with a dangerous weapon.
Other counts include civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, assaulting or impeding officers, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building and parading, demonstrating or picketing a Capitol building.
Obstructing an official proceeding carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Mr Jensen, 41, was arrested and jailed in Des Moines two days after he returned home from Washington and saw images of himself in television coverage. He was ordered by a judge to be transferred from Iowa to Washington to be held on the charges.
Court records suggest Mr Jensen might be working toward a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.
The court document described Mr Jensen as the product of a dysfunctional childhood and said he didn’t fully understand the reasons he was pulled into the QAnon conspiracy.
It speculated he could have been influenced by a mid-life crisis, the pandemic, “or perhaps the message just seemed to elevate him from his ordinary life to an exalted status with an honourable goal”.
His love and concern for his family was a “wake-up call that ended his victimisation”, Mr Davis said in the court filing.
He asked for Mr Jensen to be released to get his affairs in order. He said Mr Jensen’s wife was willing to drive him home to Des Moines, where he would remain under house arrest.