Sentencing date requested in Schaffer Jan. 6 case

File photo Jon Schaffer is facing six federal crimes for his alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection.

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.

As part of his guilty plea in his criminal case, Schaffer acknowledged that he is “a founding, lifetime member of the Oath Keepers” and believes that “the federal government has been ‘co-opted’ by 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.

Schaffer’s attorney claims in the joint status update that the Oath Keeper’s cooperation with federal authorities has involved “the largest conspiracy arising out of the (Jan. 6 insurrection) that has been indicted to date.”

In last October, Schaffer’s attorneys included language in a court filing about Schaffer allegedly cooperating with federal authorities investigating Thomas Caldwell, an Oath Keeper who was found guilty by a jury in November on charges of seditious conspiracy and other crimes related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.