Report: Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer Continuing to Cooperate in Capitol Riot Investigation
A new report by local Indiana publication The Republic indicates that Iced Earth frontman Jon Schaffer, who in April became the first person involved in the January 6 Capitol riot to reach a plea deal with the government, is continuing to cooperate with federal investigators.
Schaffer 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 came 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 continue to be restricted and monitored in the meantime.
According to the new report, Schaffer, 53, remains on pre-trial release under the supervision of the District of Columbia Pre-Trial Services Department, according to a joint status update filed Friday in federal court in Washington, D.C.
“He has remained compliant with pre-trial release conditions,” according to the status update. “He has remained cooperative with law enforcement since his release. Multiple defendants charged in the case in which the defendant is cooperating have been presented before the court; several are in the process of exploring case resolutions and a trial date has yet to be set.”
Schaffer, who admitted to entering the Capitol armed with bear repellent in an attempt to overturn the certification of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, 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, 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.
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.
Iced Earth and Schaffer’s other band, Demons & Wizards, were both removed from their record label Century Media’s website shortly after his involvement in the riot went public. His former band members in both outfits have distanced themselves from the guitarist.