Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer has pleaded guilty to two charges related to his involvement in the treasonous pro-Trump insurrection at the US. Capitol. Those charges include obstructing an official proceeding of Congress and trespassing on restricted grounds of the Capitol while armed with a deadly or dangerous weapon. As part of the deal, the musician will be entering into a cooperation agreement with the government.
According to Blabbermouth, Schaffer’s guilty plea will allow him to be released on the following conditions:
* Schaffer must submit to court supervision in the Northem Dlstrict of Indiana.
* Schaffer will surrender his passport and any other international travel documents.
* Must stay outside of D.C. except for court hearings and meetings with attorneys.
* Will be permitted to travel within the continental United States with notice to pretrial services.
* Schaffer cannot possess any firearms or explosive devices, including legally owned firearms. Any firearms must be removed from his home.
As part of the deal, the Justice Department also agreed to sponsor Schaffer for the witness protection program. CNN are also reporting that the guitarist’s legal team have “agreed to recommend that he get between 3.5 and 4.5 years in prison, based on how fruitful his cooperation is with the government.” The final decision will be made by federal Judge Amit Mehta.
This news comes after a previous document suggested that prosecutors were close to making a cooperation deal with Schaffer earlier this month and after his legal team recently agreed to delay rights afforded by The Speedy Trial Act.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui previously ordered Schaffer to remain in jail without bond until he goes to trial. The guitarist, who was being held at the Washington D.C. Jail, was not considered a flight risk, but Faruqui wanted to keep him in custody without bail, saying he could be a danger to the community. His decision was influenced in part by comments Schaffer made during a November 2020 Trump Rally, in which he said “if somebody wants to bring violence, I think there’s a lot of us here that are ready for it.”
After Schaffer was initially ordered to stay in custody, his attorney Marc Victor filed a “motion to amend detention order,” claiming that “the government failed to establish Mr. Schaffer’s dangerous to the community by clear and convincing evidence.” However, a U.S. magistrate judge filed an “order of detention pending trial” concluding that Schaffer “must be detained pending trial because the Government has proven by clear and convincing evidence that no condition or combination of conditions of release will reasonably assure the safety of any other person and the community.”
Before he was transported to Washington, D.C. by a U.S. marshal, Schaffer was being held at Marion County Jail in Indiana after being arrested on January 17. He made his first court appearance on January 18 and government lawyers asked a judge to deny him bail when he goes in front of the U.S. magistrate. If you missed it, here’s the original statement that was issued by the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office:
“Jon Schaffer, Columbus, IN, has been arrested in connection to Jan 6 incident at the U.S. Capitol. Schaffer faces 6 charges including engaging in an act of physical violence in a Capitol building. Schaffer was allegedly among rioters who sprayed Capitol police with ‘bear spray.’”
The U.S. Department Of Justice also released a “Statement Of Facts,” which includes surveillance camera photos of Schaffer holding bear spray. It also mentioned that he was wearing a “Lifetime Member” hat from the anti-government militia group Oath Keepers. However, the Indiana Oath Keepers have since issued a statement saying he wasn’t a member of their group. Notably, as part of his plea deal, Schaffer officially acknowledged that he is “a founding lifetime member of the Oath Keepers.”
Before pleading guilty to two charges, he was actually facing six:
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