Who is Jon Schaffer? Iced Earth guitarist and Oath Keeper pleads guilty to two counts for role in Capitol riots

Schaffer is the first to agree to a plea deal in the domestic terrorism investigation that saw 400 people being charged for their roles in the insurrection


                            Who is Jon Schaffer? Iced Earth guitarist and Oath Keeper pleads guilty to two counts for role in Capitol riots
Jon Schaffer is first to plead guilty for his role in Capitol Riots (Instagram/icedearth)

Jon Schaffer — the main songwriter and guitarist of heavy metal band Iced Earth — has pleaded guilty on two charges related to his involvement in the Capitol riots that happened on January 6, 2021. Schaffer is the first to agree to a plea deal in the domestic terrorism investigation that saw over 400 people being charged for their roles in the invasion of the Capitol. 

The two charges he pled guilty to were obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress and trespassing on restricted grounds of the Capitol while armed with a deadly or dangerous weapon. Shortly after the riots, Schaffer was the first to be identified from the first photos that were released of the tragic event and he was later sought out for his role. Schaffer turned himself into the FBI agents in Indianapolis on January 18, 2021 and remained in Indiana until recently when his case was sent to court in Washington, DC.

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Jon Ryan Schaffer is first to enter plea deal in his role in Capitol Riots (icedearth.com)

 

Who is Jon Schaffer?

Born on March 15, 1968, Jon Schaffer grew up in Franklin, Indiana, United States. The musician's bio on Iced Earth's website lists out a couple of things that he's passionate about. “My passions are studying history and current events, and in consequence, standing against, and exposing, tyranny,” reads the segment.

The website also reveals that he's inspired by a lot of politicians including the Founding Fathers of the United States Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry. Other names also include former Presidents Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, former US Representative Ron Paul, author, and conspiracy theorist G Edward Griffin, businessman and political activist Aaron Russo amongst other people. 

Schaffer has forever held far-right extremist views and a criminal complaint filed against him had mentioned his critical opinions that he also expressed in past interviews. “During an interview in 2017, Schaffer identified himself as an ‘anarchist’ and referred to the federal government as a ‘criminal enterprise.’ During that same interview, Schaffer stated that the 2016 Presidential election was ‘rigged,’” the complaint stated.



 

What was Jon Schaffer charged for?

Schaffer was charged on Friday (April 16) by criminal information, a type of charging document used when a defendant waives the right to an indictment. He was initially charged with six crimes — including engaging in an act of physical violence and targeting police with bear spray. As part of the plea deal, he only pleaded guilty to two of the counts. Both are felony offenses carrying heavy penalties.

The obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and another charge of armed trespassing on restricted grounds of the Capitol with deadly or dangerous weapons is punishable by 10 years in prison. The Washington Post reveals that these counts have been brought against roughly one-fourth of those charged to date. 



 

Founding member of the Oath Keepers

The 53-year-old is also a self-confessed "founding" member of the Oath Keepers who stormed the Capitol armed with bear spray. He was captured wearing a hat that proclaimed him to be an “Oath Keepers Lifetime Member”. After his identification, Schaffer was asked to co-operate with the federal prosecutors, it was revealed on Friday.

Schaffer was released after the Friday hearing until his sentencing. However, he is required to submit to court supervision in the Northern District of Indiana, surrender his passport, and stay away from Washington, DC. His release came after his attorney argued for no travel restrictions, claiming Schaffer is an “internationally known musician and recording artist.”

If net worth aggregators are to be believed, he has a fortune worth $1 to $5 million and is said to reportedly be single.