Iced Earth‘s Jon Schaffer is being sued by Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine for his role in this year’s attack on the US Capitol Building.
On January 6, the guitarist was among a group of Donald Trump supporters who stormed Capitol Hill to protest the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory in Congress, which resulted in the complex being locked down.
A number of protesters breached security and got inside the building while others clashed with police outside. Eyewitness video captured police repelling the attackers with batons, pepper spray, and tear gas.
Now, Schaffer is one of more than two dozen members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers who are being sued by Racine over millions of dollars the city spent to defend the attack.
The lawsuit, filed yesterday (December 14) in a Washington D.C. federal court, names 31 people, Schaffer included, as being part of extremist groups that were “conspiring to terrorise the District”.
In the complaint, Schaffer was described as “a founding, lifetime member of the Oath Keepers,” while also acknowledging he “was criminally charged and indicted for his role in perpetrating the January 6th Attack.”
It continued: “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 Offence in the criminal action brought against him, which included two felony offences: (1) trespass of the Capitol while armed with a deadly or dangerous weapon and (2) obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress.”
Racine, who has cited those named in the lawsuit responsible for launching “a coordinated act of domestic terrorism”, is asking the court to find those named liable for the millions of dollars spent dispatching officers and treating the injured on site, as well as having to pay medical leave all related to the incident, according to CNN.
“No one bore the brunt of this gutless attack more than the courageous law enforcement officers including the men and women of the DC Metropolitan Police Department who went into the fire and violence with one objective in mind: remove the violent mob and restore our country’s fragile democracy,” Racine said at a news conference on Tuesday (December 14).
“The defendants, as you know, were not tourists, nor were they acting patriotically,” Racine added. “They were vigilantes, members of a mob, insurrectionists who sought to crush our country’s freedoms.”
According to CNN, the lawsuit does not specify the amount of money the city is seeking, but Racine did state that his office will pursue “the maximum financial penalties”.
Schaffer was one of the first rioters identified in photos that were taken at the Capitol Building and he was later sought out for his role.
He was initially charged with six crimes, but in April, as part of the plea deal, he only pled guilty to two charges related to his involvement. He admitted to the obstruction of an official proceeding and entering a building with a dangerous weapon (carrying bear spray). Both are felony offences that carry heavy penalties.
Schaffer was 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 been reported that he offered up information on the Oath Keepers as part of his plea deal.
The attack on the Capitol resulted in five deaths, assaults on nearly 140 police officers and the evacuation of Congress.
In the wake of Schaffer’s involvement in the Capitol riot, Iced Earth parted ways, with the singer Stu Block, bassist Luke Appleton and guitarist Jake Dreyer all revealing their plans following the guitarist’s initial jailing.