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Jon Schaffer Allegedly Pictured At U.S. Capitol RiotMetropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia

Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer Pleads Guilty To Two Charges For U.S. Capitol Riot Involvement (Updated)


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Update: April 16th, 2021 12:05 PM:

Newsweek report that earlier today (April 16th) Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer officially plead guilty to the charges of obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress; and trespassing on restricted grounds of the Capitol while armed with a deadly or dangerous weapon. Both charges stem from his involvement in the riot that took place at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06th of this year.

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The aforementioned publication are also reporting that the Department of Justice stated that Schaffer “acknowledged he is a founding lifetime member of the Oath Keepers” in his plea agreement, which requires him to fully cooperate with the authorities. The Oath Keepers are a far-right militia group, of whom at least a dozen members are facing charges related to the U.S. Capitol Building riot. The Indiana chapter of the Oath Keepers previously publicly stated that Schaffer isn’t a member of their organization. Schaffer resides in Indiana.

The plea agreement has allowed Schaffer to be released from prison for now on several conditions and travel restrictions, including regular check-ins, surrendering his passport and firearms, and more. It was also stated that prosecutors have agreed to sponsor him for the witness protection program as part of the plea deal. He is obligated to “cooperate fully” with the authorities per the agreement and may be called to testify in future cases against others involved with the riot.

CNN report that Schaffer‘s legal team have agreed to a recommendation that he serve between 3.5 and 4.5 years in prison for his crimes, dependent on how beneficial his cooperation with the government is during their ongoing investigations.

Original Story:

Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer has agreed to plead guilty to two charges for his involvement in the January 06th, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building. His guilty plea appears to be part of a cooperation agreement. Schaffer has been in police custody since turning himself into the authorities on January 17th.

Earlier this month it was revealed that Schaffer‘s legal team had withdrawn their motion to have the charges against him dismissed, having previously been citing a violation of ‘The Speedy Trial Act’. That act defines that an individual must have charges or information put against them within 30 days of their arrest.

Days after withdrawing the request, an improperly filed document revealed that Schaffer had been nearing a cooperation deal with the authorities. While it was not specified as to what information Schaffer may be sharing with authorities, he was photographed and filmed several times wearing an ‘Oath Keepers Lifetime Member’ hat. He was also seen wearing that hat during his time at the riot. Several members of that far-right militia group have been arrested and are facing charges in connection with the riot as well.

The Indiana chapter of the Oath Keepers, where Schaffer hails from, have publicly stated that he isn’t a member of their organization. Despite this, prosecutors have stated that Schaffer was an early backer of the group, according to The Washington Post.

Schaffer waived his right to an indictment and was charged today, April 16th, via a charging document with a plea hearing scheduled to follow. Per the charging document, Schaffer has agreed to plead guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, punishable by up to 20 years in prison; and trespassing on restricted grounds of the Capitol while armed with a deadly or dangerous weapon, which carries up to 10 years in prison.

The latter stems from Schaffer appearing to have been brandishing bear spray during the riot. Schaffer had originally faced the following six charges:

  • 1) Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority
  • 2) Disrupting the Orderly Conduct of Government Business
  • 3) Knowingly Engaging in an Act of Physical Violence Against any Person or Property in any Restricted Building or Grounds
  • 4) Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building
  • 5) Engaging in an Act of Physical Violence in a Capitol Building
  • 6) Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building

Schaffer publicly expressed his dissatisfaction and far-right views regarding the U.S. government and the results of the November 2020 U.S. presidential election during this interview at a MAGA rally in November of last year.

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