A federal court has decided to uphold the pre-trial detention order for Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer. The “order of detention pending trial” also mentioned that the musician was allegedly one of the first people to breach the U.S. Capitol during the treasonous pro-Trump insurrection on January 6.
On March 19, U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui ordered Schaffer to remain in jail without bond until he goes to trial. The guitarist, who is currently being held at the Washington D.C. Jail, was not considered a flight risk, but Faruqui chose to keep him in custody without bail, saying that 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 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.” He said the following:
“Mr. Schaffer is 53 years old. He has no criminal convictions. He does not have a substance abuse or mental health issue. He has no history of violence and was not violent on January 6, 2021. He entered the capitol with pepper spray. He did not threaten anyone with or discharge the spray. He left the capitol after approximately sixty seconds and returned home to Indiana.”
An “order of detention pending trial” has since been filed by a U.S. magistrate judge, who said 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.” You can read that order below [via Blabbermouth]:
“In response to the Government’s exhibit of Mr. Schaffer speaking at a rally in November 2020, Mr. Schaffer argues that he was simply explaining his political views. When asked about violence in the video interview, Mr. Schaffer responded that he didn’t want violence, but that he was prepared to meet any violence with self defense. In response to the video that shows him entering the Capitol, Mr. Schaffer argues he was only in the building for 60 seconds and only unholstered the bear spray in question because he thought someone was trying to take it. Mr. Schaffer said he is not a flight risk because he voluntarily contacted his lawyer and surrendered himself. He is a high profile musician so would have difficulty fleeing. He has a stable girlfriend, stable residence, and a daughter. He is 52 years old with no criminal history or substance abuse problems. Mr. Schaffer argues the weight of the evidence is weak, as the Government did not provide evidence that he knowingly entered the Capitol building unlawfully. There was no evidence of violence presented and Mr. Schaffer says he is not affiliated with the ‘Oath Keepers.’
Mr. Schaffer is charged with carrying a dangerous weapon (bear spray) onto restricted, Capitol grounds. His actions on January 6, 2021, during the certification of the electoral college vote, were shocking to the rule of law and the democratic process. As Chief Judge Howell noted in United States v. Barnett, the title of the offense does not ‘properly capture the scope of what [the defendant] is accused of doing here.’ In this case, there appears to be premeditation and a weapon present. Mr. Schaffer appeared in the video to be one of the first people to breach the Capitol. There is some evidence, and evidence still being developed, that defendant is affiliated with groups that present ongoing threats of danger to the community, e.g., the ‘Oath Keepers.’
The government presented a number of exhibits at the detention hearing that show Mr. Schaffer was in possession of bear spray. There is video of him clearly entering the Capitol and three police officers that appear to fall back in self defense. Thus, it doesn’t seem likely or reasonable Mr. Schaffer was under the impression he was ‘invited in’ by Capitol law enforcement.
Mr. Schaffer has no criminal history and no documented history of substance abuse. He is employed and has a stable residence. It is true he is within his rights to demonstrate and share his political views through lawful means. This case concerns unlawful means of demonstration. Mr. Schaffer’s status as a firearms owner does not have any bearing, negative or positive, on this decision.
While Mr. Schaffer is most likely not a serious flight risk due to his status as a well-known musician, there remains the concern of danger to the community. Mr. Schaffer’s views on the government and current administration are long held. His statements, including the November 2020 interview, show that this was not an isolated event. He has stated there would be ‘bloodshed’ if the current administration came to power. This transfer of power has taken place, so it cannot be assured Mr. Schaffer will not engage in further violence to support his political ideology if released. The Government alleges Mr. Schaffer is a lifetime member of the ‘Oath Keepers,’ which is an organization that has questioned the legitimacy of the government and threatened political violence. Last, although Mr. Schaffer claimed he would only respond to violence in self defense, there was no violence directed against him on January 6, 2021, yet he engaged in violent and destructive behavior when he entered the Capitol armed with a weapon.”
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 initial 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.
Schaffer is currently facing the following 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