Federal Judge Orders Jon Schaffer Held Without Bail
A federal judge has denied Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer bail as he awaits trial in Washington, D.C. for his role in the January 6 insurrection attempt at the U.S. Capitol, according to Blabbermouth (who did not cite a source).
Schaffer appeared in front of Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui for a video teleconference earlier today (March 19) after being extradited from his native Indiana at some point in the past week.
According to a previous report by WISH-TV, prosecutors also asked bail be denied to Schaffer when he appeared in front of a judge in Indiana on January 22. The report stated that in the case of federal charges, such as the ones against Schaffer, the judge is not obligated to grant bail. According to an earlier WISH-TV report, in order to gain bail, Schaffer would have to prove to the judge that he’s not a threat to himself or others. The piece also noted that other accused Capitol rioters “have been given bail but told to stay away from Washington.”
Schaffer turned himself into the authorities on January 17 and was held in a Marion County, Indiana jail until on or around March 15, when he was finally extradited to Washington, D.C. to stand trial. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington has faced delays due to the unusually high caseload resulting from the Capitol riots, currently tasked with handling more than 250 such cases compared to 20 in the same time period in 2020.
Attorneys acting on behalf of Schaffer filed a motion on March 8 to dismiss all charges against him. Citing the Speedy Trial Act, they claimed that “no indictment or information has been filed within the time limit” of 30 days from arrest.
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.