A militia member was the first to plead guilty to federal charges in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said.
Jon Schaffer, 53, whom the DOJ said was a member of a militia called Oath Keepers, admitted to breaching the Capitol while wearing a tactical vest and armed with bear repellent, the DOJ said Friday. Oath Keepers are a loosely connected confederation of militia groups.
“Oath Keepers member Jon Schaffer has pleaded guilty to multiple felonies, including for breaching the Capitol while wearing a tactical vest and armed with bear spray, with the intent to interfere with Congress’ certification of the Electoral College results,” Acting Deputy Attorney General John P. Carlin said in a statement.
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, according to the DOJ. If convicted, Schaffer faces up to 30 years in prison, according to the DOJ.
Guilty plea to two charges from US Capitol Insurrectionist & Oath Keeper Jon Schaffer of Indiana.
(Obstruction Proceeding & Entering Restricted Building w/ Deadly Weapon)
He’ll “fully cooperate” with Justice Dept in its investigation of Jan. 6
Sentencing date TBD pic.twitter.com/INF8V11UmG
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) April 16, 2021
Schaffer admitted he traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally to protest the electoral college certification, the DOJ said. When the rally ended, Schaffer and others marched to the Capitol. Schaffer then admitted to having positioned himself in front of a crowd that broken open a set of doors being guarded by Capitol Police officers wearing riot gear, according to the DOJ.
Once inside the Capitol, Schaffer and others “advanced toward five or six backpedaling USCP officers while members of the mob swelled inside of the Capitol and overwhelmed the officers,” according to the DOJ. Schaffer and others were sprayed with a “chemical irritant” and exited the building.
Schaffer was arrested on Jan. 17 in the Southern District of Indiana, according to the DOJ. (RELATED: ‘I’m A Street Fighter’: Pelosi Says She Would Have Fought Capitol Rioters)
Schaffer is the frontman of “Iced Earth,” a heavy metal band, according to the Statement of Facts from the DOJ.
In 2017, Schaffer said in a 2017 interview that he was an “‘anarchist’ and referred to the federal government as a ‘criminal enterprise,'” according to the Statement of Facts.
During an interview at the November “Million MAGA March,” Schaffer told a member of the press that it will come down to “bloodshed” if the U.S. moves to become a communist nation, according to the Statement of Facts.
“We’re not going to merge into some globalist, communist system, it will not happen,” Schaffer said, according to the Statement of Facts. “There will be a lot of bloodshed if it comes down to that, trust me. The American people will not go for that bullshit once they understand what’s actually happening. So that’s where we’re at. Nobody wants this, but they’re pushing us to a point where we have no choice.”