Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer Files Motion to Dismiss All Charges Against Him
Attorneys acting on behalf of Iced Earth founder Jon Schaffer have filed a motion to dismiss all charges leveled against him for his role in the U.S. Capitol riots on January 6, claiming “no indictment or information has been filed within the time limit required.”
Official court documents obtained by MetalSucks show that Schaffer (through his attorneys), citing 18 U.S.C. § 3161(b), known as The Speedy Trial Act, claims that the government has failed to file an Information or an Indictment within 30 days of Schaffer’s arrest (by February 18, 2021). The motion specifies that “The Government has not filed either an Information or Indictment and the Complaint must be dismissed.”
As of March 8, Schaffer was still being held in the same Marion County, Indiana jail he has been in since turning himself in on January 17, a time period of 48 days.
An article on Politico published today, March 10, indicates there is a backlog in cases related to the January 6 Capitol riots resulting from the sheer number of them. “The Justice Department and the courts are going to extraordinary lengths to prosecute and process hundreds of people who allegedly breached the Capitol on Jan. 6,” it says, detailing that prosecutors have been brought in from other districts to help with the caseload. For context, the article says, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington has in 2021 so far handed down less than 20 federal prosecutions that aren’t connected to the Capitol assault, a number representative of the office’s usual caseload. It is currently tasked with handling more than 250 related to the Capitol breach.
Schaffer is awaiting extradition to Washington D.C. where he is to be tried along with other participants in the January 6 riots. He waived his preliminary hearing and his rights to an identity hearing and production of a warrant on January 22. U.S. Magistrate for the Southern District of Indiana, judge Mark Dinsmore, signed an order for Schaffer to appear in D.C.’s district court, but the extradition has not yet taken place.
Schaffer is being represented by the Attorneys for Freedom Law Firm, a practice advertising a specialty in criminal defense, with offices located in Arizona and Hawaii.
The FBI Indianapolis Field Office indicated Schaffer, who allegedly sprayed Capitol police with bear spray, faces six federal charges:
- “Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority”
- “Disrupting the Orderly Conduct of Government Business”
- “Knowingly Engages in an Act of Physical Violence Against any Person or Property in any Restricted Building or Grounds”
- “Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building”
- “Engage in an Act of Physical Violence in a Capitol Building”
- “Parade, Demonstrate, or Picket in a Capitol Building”
Footage of Schaffer’s role in the riots that surfaced on February 16 seems to show him engaging in a physical fight with police officers attempting to protect the building. You can watch that below.
Following his arrest, The New York Times reported that authorities believed Schaffer to be a member of the Oath Keepers, an organized, far-right militia group known as the Oath Keepers who planned the invasion of the building in advance, and can be seen wearing an Oath Keepers hat in photos from the insurrection. Days later, however, the Indiana chapter of the Oath Keepers released a statement in which they asserted that Schaffer is not a member of their organization.
Iced Earth vocalist Stu Block (ex-Into Eternity), bassist Luke Appleton, and guitarist Jake Dreyer (Witherfall) have since all announced their departure from Iced Earth. Vocalist Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian) quit Schaffer’s other project, Demons & Wizards, earlier this month. Both of those bands no longer appear on the current or former artist pages of Schaffer’s longtime label, Century Media. The label has yet to issue a formal statement as to whether or not they’ve dropped the two acts.
Schaffer has been quite open about his far-right political views for years, openly discussing his mistrust of government (with a special emphasis on the federal reserve), asserting his belief that Trump’s loss in the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election was tipped by illegal immigrants, speaking out in favor of arming teachers to prevent school shootings, and claiming that COVID-19 is a hoax.
Thanks: Pat F.