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Oath keeper Jon Schaffer could be Capitol Riot’s first plea deal

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The Justice Department and Jon Schaffer’s attorneys file indicates that the heavy metal guitarist may be interested in cooperating to avoid an indictment.

Author: Jordan Fischer, Eric Flack, Stephanie Wilson

Posted on: 9:23 p.m. EDT April 5, 2021

Updated: 9:23 p.m. EDT April 5, 2021

WASHINGTON The Justice Department said it was in advanced negotiations with Capitol Riot defendant Jon Schaffer, representing the first potential plea deal in the case.

Schaffer, an Indiana resident and guitarist for heavy metal band Iced Earth, faces half a dozen charges in connection with the January 6 uprising, including committing an act of physical violence in a Capitol building. In an affidavit filed in the case, the FBI alleged that Schaffer was one of several rioters who assaulted Capitol Police with bear spray.

A federal judge ordered Schaffer to be held without bail pending trial last month. On Monday, the Justice Department filed a consent motion with Schaffers’ lawyer requesting a postponement of a hearing on overturning that decision because, the government said, the parties are currently engaged in plea negotiations. in good faith.

According to the file, these negotiations include discussions on the possibility of reaching a cooperation agreement that would avoid an indictment against Schaffer.

The consent motion was supposed to be filed under seal, but was apparently inadvertently filed on the public business register on Monday.

: Heavy Metal guitarist Jon Schaffer is close to the first plea deal in #CapitolRiots. New court documents: “The parties are currently engaged in good faith plea negotiations …” “the first and most advanced plea bargain involving one of Capitol Riot’s more than 300 defendants.” pic.twitter.com/54ITSc6yys

– Eric Flack (@EricFlackTV) April 6, 2021

As federal prosecutors have spoken of the possibility of plea deals in the case and at least one other defendant, Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola, has indicated his interest in taking a Schaffer represents the first and most advanced of negotiations plea involving one of more than 300 Capitol Riot defendants, according to the filing. This is at least in part because, federal prosecutors note, the plea discussions in the Capitol riot cases required extensive review and approval at various levels of government, which took longer than that. usually.

RELATED: Plea Agreements Possible for ‘Appropriate’ Capitol Riot Cases, Prosecutor Says

Schaffers’ cooperation may be of particular interest to the government due to his apparent involvement with the Oath Keepers militia. Images of Schaffer during the riot show him wearing an Oath Keepers life member’s hat.

The largest government case to date in the Capitol Riots investigation involves 12 suspected Oath Keepers on charges of conspiring to recruit and train militiamen to travel to Washington in order to disrupt the joint session of the Congress January 6. The jury added two members of a security service for Roger Stone, a longtime confidant of former President Donald Trump, to the indictment.

The file, which had been placed under seal Monday evening, does not provide details of the information Schaffer could negotiate to provide the government. The government says on the record, however, that public knowledge of Schaffers’ potential cooperation could lead other targets in the investigation to attempt to destroy evidence or intimidate potential witnesses.

We are tracking all arrests, charges and investigations into the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill. Sign up for our Capitol Breach newsletter here to never miss an update.



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