More than 100 days after pleading guilty to federal charges for his involvement during the Jan. 6, 2020 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Jon R. Schaffer is still awaiting sentencing.
Schaffer, 53, Edinburgh, pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon on April 16. His guilty plea was the first of almost 600 defendants who have now been charged in the riot.
On July 19, Paul Hodgkins, 38, of Florida, was the first individual to be sentenced, receiving eight months of prison time for obstructing an official proceeding, according to wire reports.
Schaffer was charged by criminal information, which is used when a defendant waives his or her right to an indictment.
Schaffer agreed to enter a cooperation agreement with the government in hopes of a reduced sentence, according to court documents. During the plea agreement, U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta told Schaffer he could spend 41 to 51 months in prison and be fined $1,500 to $150,000 upon sentencing, but that could change based on his cooperation.
A 3.5- to 4.5-year sentence would be much lighter than the original charges filed against Schaffer. He originally faced six charges; and the two charges still filed against him can carry up to 30 combined years in prison.
Schaffer has been released from federal custody while he awaits sentencing.
During his plea agreement hearing, Schaffer asked Mehta for travel exceptions to Indiana, Arizona, and Florida. Schaffer’s attorney said that his client has family in Florida and his entire legal team is in Arizona.
Schaffer, a Fort Wayne native, is registered to vote in Johnson County, where records show an Edinburgh address for him. Schaffer is a longtime Indiana resident who also has ties to Columbus.
Schaffer was released on the following conditions:
He submit to court supervision in the Northern District of Indiana.
He give up his passport and stay outside of Washington D.C. except for official court meetings or with his attorneys.
He be permitted to travel within the continental United States with notice to pretrial services.
He cannot possess any firearms or explosives.
Mehta also told Schaffer he was eligible for the Witness Protection Program in his plea deal.
Attorneys representing the government requested that a sentencing date be delayed, and the court granted it. A date has not been made public of when it will take place.
A statement of fact by an FBI agent in the case alleges Schaffer used a type of bear repellent against Capitol police on Jan. 6. Photos and video from the insurrection show Schaffer inside the Capitol building wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt under a tactical vest with a baseball cap that reads “Oath Keepers Lifetime Member.”
The FBI has labeled the Oath Keepers as a far-right militia group that “as a group urged President Trump to declare martial law in order to prevent the Congress from certifying the Electoral College Results.”
Schaffer admitted to being among the first individuals to push past the damaged doors and into the Capitol while carrying bear spray, according to court documents.
Marc Victor, of Arizona-based Attorney’s for Freedom Law Firm, said that Schaffer was inside the Capitol for 60 seconds.
Schaffer was jailed, first in Indianapolis and later in Washington D.C., from Jan. 18 until his release in April.
During his time at the Marion County Jail, which lasted about eight weeks, Victor told the court that Schaffer was threatened by inmates.
“My client, who is presumed innocent, has just gone through two months of hell where other people were throwing feces at him and urine at him and threatening his life in a horrible, horrible situation,” Victor said during a detention hearing March 21, according to court records.
Schaffer is of moderate fame for his heavy metal band “Iced Earth” and side projects “Demons and Wizards” and “Sons of Liberty.”