Jon Schaffer’s Attorney Says the Guitarist Was “Not Violent” During the Capitol Riot


Marc Victor, attorney for Iced Earth/Demons & Wizards guitarist Jon Schaffer, has filed a “motion to amend detention order” after a federal judge denied Schaffer bail this week. The guitarist currently awaits trial in Washington, D.C. for his role seditious riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui explained his decision to deny bail by citing Schaffer’s “long held beliefs,” as demonstrated in a video interview from a pro-Trump rally in November of 2020, during which Schaffer told a reporter that “If someone wants to bring violence, we’re ready for that” before asserting that “there will be a lot of bloodshed.”

But according to Victor’s filing, “the government failed to establish Mr. Schaffer’s dangerous to the community by clear and convincing evidence”:

“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.”

While Victor admits that Schaffer “used bad judgement that day,” he further claims that Schaffer only brought bear spray into the Capitol in case he needed it for self-defense.

The claim that Schaffer was only in the Capitol for sixty seconds is disputed, according to Indiana Public Media:

“Officials say there is evidence linking Schaffer to the front of the crowd, and that the founder of the metal band Iced Earth was one of the first to breach the building.”

Additionally, Victor claims that Schaffer is not a member of the Oath Keepers — the domestic terrorist group currently under investigation by the Department of Justice — despite being photographed wearing a hat bearing that militia’s name. Victor also claims that “his client was photographed attempting to protect an elderly man, instead of inciting violence.”

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.


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