ICED EARTH guitarist Jon Schaffer is featured in a video exhibit in U.S. Capitol riot case launched this week by the U.S. Justice Division, as reported by CBS Information congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane.
Schaffer was photographed and captured on surveillance video carrying “bear spray,” a type of capsaicin pepper spray bought by many outside retailers, and interesting in verbal altercations with Capitol law enforcement officials contained in the Capitol constructing on January 6, 2021.
Schaffer, who pleaded responsible 13 months in the past to his function within the Capitol riot, is continuous to cooperate with authorities whereas on pre-sentencing launch.
In a joint standing replace filed in February in federal courtroom in Washington, D.C., United States lawyer Matthew M. Graves additionally requested for a Might deadline for the submitting of one other standing report in his case.
In accordance with an April 2021 Justice Division press launch, Schaffer has “acknowledged he’s a founding lifetime member” of the right-wing Oath Keepers extremist group.
This previous January, U.S. District Courtroom Choose Amit Mehta granted the U.S. authorities’s request to share sealed supplies from the case involving Schaffer‘s function within the U.S. Capitol riot case as discovery to the three fundamental Oath Keepers circumstances. Stewart Rhodes, the founder and chief of the Oath Keepers, and several other of his deputies had been charged with seditious conspiracy for his or her function within the U.S. Capitol Riot. Rhodes and his co-defendants are accused of bringing small arms to the Washington, D.C. space; participating in fight coaching to arrange for the assault; and planning to stage quick-reaction forces to assist insurrectionists.
In December 2021, a lawsuit was filed in federal courtroom in Washington, D.C. accusing 31 members of Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys — together with Schaffer — of “conspiring to terrorize the District” on January 6, 2021, calling their actions “a coordinated act of home terrorism.” In accordance with CNN, the lawsuit cites the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, a federal regulation created after the Civil Battle to guard civil rights and, as District of Columbia Lawyer Common Karl Racine famous, “to guard in opposition to vigilantes and insurrectionists.”
“I feel the damages are substantial,” Racine advised The Washington Submit. “If it so occurs that it bankrupts or places these people and entities in monetary peril, so be it.”
The 84-page criticism, which could be discovered at this location, describes Schaffer as “a founding, lifetime member of the Oath Keepers.” It goes on to say: “Schaffer was criminally charged and indicted for his function in perpetrating the January sixth Assault. In reference to a promise to cooperate with investigators and probably testify in legal circumstances associated to the conspiracy to commit the January sixth Assault, Schaffer pleaded responsible to the complete Assertion of Offense within the legal motion introduced in opposition to him, which included two felony offenses: (1) trespass of the Capitol whereas armed with a lethal or harmful weapon and (2) obstruction of an official continuing of Congress. The Prison Grievance filed in opposition to Schaffer—in addition to Schaffer‘s Plea Settlement and the accompanying Assertion of Offense describing his conduct—are publicly obtainable paperwork which are hereby integrated into the Grievance by reference.”
“Nobody bore the brunt of this gutless assault greater than the brave regulation enforcement officers together with the women and men of the DC Metropolitan Police Division who went into the hearth and violence with one goal in thoughts: take away the violent mob and restore our nation’s fragile democracy,” Racine stated at a information convention.
“The defendants, as you recognize, weren’t vacationers, nor had been they performing patriotically,” he added. “They had been vigilantes, members of a mob, insurrectionists who sought to crush our nation’s freedoms.”
As a part of his April 2021 plea deal, Jon entered right into a cooperation settlement with the federal government.
Though Schaffer was initially charged with six crimes, together with participating in an act of bodily violence and focusing on police with bear spray, he pleaded responsible to solely two fees: obstruction of an official continuing of Congress; and trespassing on restricted grounds of the Capitol whereas armed with a lethal or harmful weapon. The primary cost is punishable by as much as 20 years in jail, whereas the second carries as much as a 10-year jail time period.
In his plea settlement, Schaffer acknowledged that on January 6, 2021 he was in Washington to attend the “Cease The Steal” rally on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. to protest the outcomes of the presidential election, which he believed had been fraudulent. Schaffer wore a tactical vest and carried bear spray, a harmful weapon and chemical irritant used to keep at bay bears. When the rally completed, Schaffer joined a big crowd that marched from the Ellipse to the Capitol, the place a joint session of Congress, presided over by Vice President Michael Pence, was in session to certify the electoral faculty vote outcomes. Shortly after 2:00 p.m., members of the mob pressured entry into the Capitol constructing, disrupting the joint session and inflicting members of Congress and the Vice President to be evacuated from the Home and Senate chambers.
In his plea settlement, Schaffer admitted that after arriving on Capitol grounds, he walked previous obstacles meant to limit entry to the general public and to a set of locked doorways on the Capitol’s west facet. At roughly 2:40 p.m., Schaffer positioned himself on the entrance of a crowd that broke open a set of doorways being guarded by 4 U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officers sporting riot gear. Schaffer admitted to being among the many first people to push previous the broken doorways and into the Capitol constructing, forcing officers to retreat. Schaffer and others superior towards 5 or 6 backpedaling USCP officers whereas members of the mob swelled inside the Capitol and overwhelmed the officers. The officers finally deployed a chemical irritant to disperse the mob. Schaffer was among the many individuals who had been sprayed within the face, after which he exited whereas holding his personal bear spray in his arms.
As a part of the plea deal, Schaffer agreed to cooperate with investigators and probably testify in associated legal circumstances, in keeping with CNN. In return for Schaffer‘s help, the Justice Division would possibly later urge the decide to indicate leniency throughout his sentencing.
Additionally as a part of the settlement, the Justice Division has supplied to sponsor Schaffer for the witness safety program.
The 54-year-old musician was the primary Capitol riot defendant to succeed in a plea deal.
The Indiana chapter of the Oath Keepers distanced itself from Schaffer after his arrest, claiming he was not a member of the native group. However the nationwide group, which sells lifetime memberships for $1,200, has not commented on his alleged affiliation with the group.
At a November 2020 Donald Trump rally in Washington, D.C., Schaffer was videotaped strolling behind a Florida couple, Kelly Meggs and Connie Meggs, who had been accused of being amongst 10 members of the Oath Keepers to have performed a number one function within the Capitol assault. In accordance with federal authorities, Kelly and Connie Meggs plotted for weeks forward of the assault, attended coaching periods and recruited others. Kelly Meggs is the pinnacle of the Oath Keepers‘ chapter in Florida.
Following the preliminary reviews that Schaffer was concerned within the riot, his ICED EARTH bandmates distanced themselves from his actions. Singer Stu Block and bassist Luke Appleton later posted separate statements on social media asserting their resignations. BLIND GUARDIAN frontman Hansi Kürsch additionally give up DEMONS & WIZARDS, his long-running venture with Schaffer. The allegations additionally apparently affected Schaffer‘s relationship along with his longtime file label Century Media, which had launched albums from each ICED EARTH and DEMONS & WIZARDS. As of mid-January, the Century Media artist roster web page didn’t listing both band.