Copyright, The Republic, Columbus
WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors and an attorney representing a former Columbus resident who pleaded guilty to storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, are asking a federal judge to set a sentencing date.
In a joint status report filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the government and an attorney representing former heavy metal musician and Columbus resident Jon Schaffer asked a judge to schedule a sentencing for January or February.
The filing also states Schaffer continues to be on release under the supervision of the District of Columbia Pre-Trial Services Department and has remained compliant with pre-trial release conditions.
“At this time, the parties are prepared to schedule a sentencing hearing,” the filing states. “The parties respectfully request a sentencing hearing on a date in the time periods of Jan. 22-26, 2024, or Feb. 20-23, 2024.”
Sentencing would signal the end of a legal saga that began about a week and a half after a violent mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol and attempted to prevent the certification of the 2020 presidential election.
Schaffer, who formerly was a musician in the heavy metal band Ice Earth and member of the Oath Keepers, pleaded guilty in April 2021 to, among other things, breaching the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, armed with bear repellent and obstructing an official proceeding.
The plea agreement states that Schaffer pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon.
Obstruction of an official proceeding carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and up to three years of supervised release, according to the plea agreement. Entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail, a $250,000 fine and up to three years of supervised release.
The plea agreement also estimates that Schaffer’s sentencing guidelines would range from 41 to 51 months in jail and an applicable fine of $15,000 to $150,000. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia also has said it would be willing to sponsor Schaffer’s admission into the federal witness protection program.
Schaffer was one of the first six insurrectionists to push through the damaged doors of the Capitol and was photographed inside wearing a hat that said, “Oath Keepers Lifetime Member,” with bear spray in his hand, according to the lawsuit.
For the complete story, see Friday’s Republic.