Jon Schaffer (Iced Earth) Sued for His Involvement in U.S. Capitol Riot


Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer is one of the 31 members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers against whom District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine has filed a new lawsuit.

CNN reports that Racine has filed the complaint “in an effort to recover the millions of dollars the city spent to defend the US Capitol during the seditious riot on January 6.” In the suit, Schaffer and the other defendants are accused of “conspiring to terrorize the District by planning, promoting, and participating in the violent January 6, 2021, attack on the United States Capitol Building,” and therefore “are jointly and severally liable for the damages suffered by the District as a result of their unlawful conspiracy.”

After describing Schaffer as “a founding, lifetime member of the Oath Keepers,” the lawsuit makes note of his previously reported plea bargain with authorities:

“Schaffer was criminally charged and indicted for his role in perpetrating the January 6th Attack… In connection with a promise to cooperate with investigators and potentially testify in criminal cases related to the conspiracy to commit the January 6th Attack, Schaffer pleaded guilty to the entire Statement of Offense in the criminal action brought against him, which included two felony offenses: (1) trespass of the Capitol while armed with a deadly or dangerous weapon and (2) obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress.”

The lawsuit seeks compensatory and statutory damages in an amount to be determined at trial, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and court costs, all in amounts to be determined at trial.

You can read the entire lawsuit here.

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.

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.

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