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Man accused of storming Capitol Hill in a legal hat negotiates plea deal, federal prosecutors said in suppressed file


  • On Monday, prosecutors said they were in the middle of plea negotiations with Jon Schaffer.

  • Schaffer has been accused of using bear spray to fend off the former officers guarding the Capitol.

  • The document outlining the deal was deleted shortly after its publication.

  • See more stories on the Insider business page.

A heavy metal guitarist arrested in connection with the Capitol Riot appears to be cooperating with prosecutors to secure a plea deal, according to a court filing Monday.

The dossier appears to have been published publicly in error and was withdrawn promptly. But before that, media like BuzzFeed News and Politico could read it.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Washington was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday morning as to why the file was released and then deleted.

The case concerns Jon Schaffer, founder of heavy metal band Iced Earth, who was accused of using bear spray on Capitol Hill cops during the January 6 riot. Images from the day show him wearing an Oath Keepers hat.

Man accused of storming Capitol Hill in a legal hat negotiates plea deal, federal prosecutors said in suppressed file

Prosecutors say Schaffer was wearing bear spray and see-through sunglasses in the above photos of the riot. Department of Justice

The Oath Keepers are a far-right militia, and several members (except Schaffer) have been indicted by the Justice Department for coordinating the January 6 riot using military-style tactics.

It’s unclear if Schaffer, who is from Indiana, actually has any ties to the group. In a statement that does not directly name Schaffer, but appears to refer to him, the Indiana Oath Keepers said he was “NOT a member” of their chapter.

In a separate, still public criminal complaint seen by Insider, Schaffer is charged with six counts of the riot, including violent entry, being on Capitol Hill illegally and engaging in violence. physical.

In the deleted file, US Deputy Prosecutor Ahmed Baset wrote that Schaffer had been cooperating in “debriefing talks” with prosecutors since early March.

Baset described the government’s “ongoing plea negotiations” with Schaffer as “the first and most advanced of the plea negotiations involving one of Capitol Riot’s more than 300 defendants.”

On the table is the option of allowing Schaffer to be released on bail pending trial, Baset wrote. Schaffer was arrested on January 17 and was ordered to be held without bail, according to WUSA-9.

Explaining why the case had to be made private, Baset explains how disastrous it could be if it became known that Schaffer was cooperating with prosecutors.

“If this information is alerted, the targets of the investigation against which the defendant could provide information could be immediately prompted to flee prosecution, destroy or conceal incriminating evidence, change their operational tactics to avoid any future detection,” to attempt to influence or intimidate potential witnesses, and otherwise take steps to undermine the investigation and avoid future prosecution, ”Baset wrote.

“Consequently, these facts present an extraordinary situation and a compelling government interest which justifies the sealing of this file relating to this investigation which is currently submitted.”

Read the full court brief below, via Politico:

Read the original article on Business Insider



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