District of Columbia sues Jon Schaffer for damages caused by insurrection

Jon Schaffer is facing six federal crimes for his alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection. Photo provided by the FBI Submitted photo

WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia has accused a local man and heavy metal guitarist of conspiring to terrorize the nation’s Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection in a civil lawsuit against far-right extremists who planned, promoted and participated in the attack.

The lawsuit, filed Dec. 14 in federal court in Washington, D.C. by the district’s attorney general, Karl Racine, alleges that far-right groups the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, their leaders and more than 30 members including former Columbus resident Jon Schaffer conspired to violently overrun federal and state law enforcement and force their way into the Capitol. The attack was an effort to prevent Congress from certifying Electoral Vote counts and declaring Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit further states that the Trump-supporting extremists conspired to “injure” another former Columbus resident former Vice President Mike Pence who had refused to suspend the Electoral College vote tally at the request of then-President Donald Trump. The former vice president was forced to flee the Senate floor as rioters violently overwhelmed police and breached the Capitol, many chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” the lawsuit states.

Schaffer, who is best known as a member of the heavy metal band Iced Earth, pleaded guilty in April to breaching the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, armed with bear repellent. He also pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

As part of his guilty plea, Schaffer acknowledged that he is “a founding, lifetime member of the Oath Keepers” and believes that “the federal government has been ‘cooptedby a cabal of elites actively trying to strip American citizens of their rights.” The Oath Keepers is a militia group that recruits current and former military, police and first responders.

The District of Columbia is seeking monetary damages from Schaffer and other members of the two extremist groups for “extraordinary damages and costs” due to the insurrection, including dispatching hundreds of Metropolitan Police Department officers to defend the Capitol against the attack, emergency and medical treatment for at least 65 injured officers, paid leave for officers who could not work due to their injuries, among other costs.

For the complete story, see Thursday’s Republic.