The founder, rhythm guitarist, and main songwriter of Iced Earth, Jon Schaffer, attended another hearing on April 16 and pleaded guilty for his actions during the storming of the United States Capitol which took place on January 6.
As you know, on January 6, 2021, former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the United States Capitol aiming to prevent Congress from accepting the elected President Joe Biden’s win in the Electoral College. Jon Schaffer was one of the familiar faces that appeared within the crowd of supporters and the photos proving that he was in the Capitol went viral on social media.
Jon turned himself in, in mid-January, after the surfacing of the photos, and his name was added to the FBI’s ‘Most Wanted’ list. In mid-March, Schaffer appeared in court and faced six federal charges, one of them being physically assaulting a police officer by using a bear spray which is categorized as a deadly or dangerous weapon, and it was decided that he will be held without bail while awaiting his next trial.
In his recent hearing, Schaffer pleaded guilty to two out of the six charges that he had faced. He accepted that he attempted the ‘obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress’ and admitted ‘trespassing on restricted grounds of the Capitol while armed with a deadly or dangerous weapon.’ While the first charge is punishable by up to twenty years in prison, the second one is punishable by up to ten years.
Schaffer reached a plea deal and agreed to cooperate with the investigators and if needed testify in related criminal cases. If their cooperation proves helpful, then the Justice Department might urge the judge to show leniency in court. CNN reported that prosecutors and Schaffer’s attorneys decided to propose that he get from three and a half to four and a half years in prison, based on how beneficial his cooperation is with the government.
Here’s what the acting deputy attorney general John P. Carlin said:
“On this 100th day since the horrific January 6 assault on the United States Capitol, Oath Keepers member Jon Schaffer has pleaded guilty to multiple felonies, including for breaching the Capitol while wearing a tactical vest and armed with bear spray, with the intent to interfere with Congress’s certification of the Electoral College results.
The FBI has made an average of more than four arrests a day, seven days a week since January 6th. I commend the hundreds of special agents, prosecutors, and support staff that have worked tirelessly for the last hundred days to bring those who committed criminal acts to justice.”
This is what the FBI deputy director Paul M. Abbate stated:
“The defendant in this case admits forcing his way into the U.S. Capitol on January 6 for the express purpose of stopping or delaying congressional proceedings essential to our democratic process. These actions are disgraceful and unacceptable.
The FBI and our partners will continue to utilize all available authorities to aggressively investigate, pursue and hold accountable those who committed acts of violence or otherwise violated the rule of law that day.”
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