Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer has pleaded guilty to two charges related to his involvement in the US Capitol riot on January 6.
The metal guitarist admitted to the obstruction of an official proceeding and entering a building with a dangerous weapon (carrying bear spray). CNN reports that a prison sentence of between 3.5 to 4.5 years has been suggested, based on a joint recommendation between prosecutors and Schaffer’s lawyers.
According to Indiana TV station WUSA9, Schaffer appeared in court on Friday (April 9) to enter his guilty pleas, with Judge Mehta asking him: “Are you pleading guilty, Mr. Schaffer, because you are in fact guilty, sir?” to which Schaffer replied” “Yes, sir.”
Federal Judge Amit Mehta will decide the length of the musician’s prison sentence, which could be up to 20 years.
A plea deal reportedly had been in the works for a few weeks, with Schaffer questioned about his ties to the militia organisation the Oath Keepers. During the insurrection, Schaffer was filmed and photographed wearing an Oath Keepers Lifetime Member baseball hat.
It’s though that Jon Schaffer may be offering information on the Oath Keepers as part of his plea deal.
Schaffer’s sentencing has been delayed for 60 days, meaning that he can walk free until the hearing. However, under Judge orders, he must submit to court supervision in the Northern District of Indiana, surrender his passport, and stay outside of D.C. except for court hearings and legal meetings. He is also not allowed to possess any firearms or explosive devices.
In the wake of Schaffer’s involvement in the Capitol riot, Iced Earth’s Stu Block and bassist Luke Appleton quit the band. It appears that guitarist Jake Dreyer has also left the band, according to Consequence Of Sound.