Video: Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer Walks Free After 89 Days in Jail
On April 16, Iced Earth mastermind Jon Schaffer, who notoriously participated in the seditious riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, entered into a plea bargain with federal prosecutors. The deal will see him cooperate with authorities by sharing information with them about other conspirators in exchange for a lessened sentence.
That same day, as part of his plea deal, Schaffer was freed from detention. He had been held in custody since turning himself in on January 17, first in a facility in Marion County, IN, and then in Washington D.C. after extradition. The total length of Schaffer’s imprisonment was 89 days, and his release comes exactly 100 days after the attack on the Capitol. He will need to return to court for sentencing at a later date and his movements will be restricted and monitored in the meantime.
Video has emerged of Schaffer leaving the Washington D.C. courthouse after agreeing to the plea deal on April 16. Alex Rhoades of NewsNation Now (the network formerly known as WGN) was the lone reporter on hand to witness Schaffer walking free.
The video, posted by reporter Joe Khalil and embedded below, depicts Schaffer emerging from the courthouse with a mask on — which he referred to as a “diaper” in his July 2020 interview with MetalSucks — and immediately taking it off as he’s greeted warmly by a woman waiting outside. The couple, ignoring questions from Rhoades, walks away, presumably to their vehicle.
Watch the video here if the below embed isn’t working.
Schaffer entered a guilty plea to two of the six charges brought against him after the riot: “Obstruction of an Official Proceeding” and “Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds with a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon.” The former charge carries a prison sentence of up to twenty years; the latter charge, a mere ten, although prosecutors and Schaffer’s attorneys agreed to recommend that his sentence be between three and a half and four and a half years in prison depending on the results of his cooperation. The sentencing decision will be handed down by federal Judge Amit Mehta, who is overseeing the case.
Schaffer has the following limits placed upon him during his supervised release while he awaits sentencing:
- He must submit to court supervision in the Northem Dlstrict of Indiana.
- He will surrender his passport and any other international travel documents.
- He must stay outside of Washington, D.C. except for court hearings and meetings with attorneys.
- He will be permitted to travel within the continental United States with notice to pretrial services.
- He cannot possess any firearms or explosive devices, including legally owned firearms. Any firearms must be removed from his home.
As the first such plea bargain to be struck among the nearly 400 rioters charged, Schaffer’s case has received quite a bit of attention from national mainstream news outlets. One of those, MSNBC, invited former federal prosector Glenn Kirschner to speak with Jonathan Capehart on “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell” on the April 17 broadcast, where Kirschner explained in more detail what Schaffer’s cooperation means for both he and the federal government. Kirschner explained that prosecutors and Schaffer had likely already been in talks for some time before the deal was officially struck to determine the extent of his knowledge and how he’d be able to help them.
It is expected that Schaffer will provide information about the Oath Keepers, an organized, far-right militia group who planned the invasion of the building in advance. Schaffer can be seen wearing an Oath Keepers hat in photos and video from the insurrection, and in his plea deal is described as a “founding lifetime member” of the group, The Indiana chapter of the Oath Keepers, however, released a statement in January in which they asserted that Schaffer is not a member of their organization. There has been speculation that Schaffer may also be able to provide information about the Proud Boys.
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.