On January 6th, election deniers stormed the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, fueled by rhetoric from former president Donald Trump and the politicians allying themselves with his claims that last year’s election was unfairly ‘stolen.’ Among those rioters was Jon Schaffer, guitarist and songwriter of American power metal band Iced Earth. Now, Schaffer has pled guilty to two of the six charges against him for his involvement in the riots.
As reported by Blabbermouth, Schaffer has pled guilty to charges of “obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress” and “trespassing on restricted grounds of the Capitol while armed with a deadly or dangerous weapon.” The first charge could result in a prison sentence of 20 years, while the second could include a 10-year prison term.
Schaffer, it should be noted, is the first Capitol rioter to reach a plea deal. One assumes that he’d pled guilty to these charges in order to escape more severe punishment for the remaining four charges against him, though that is not yet clear.
Shortly after the riots, the other members of Iced Earth — drummer Brent Smedley, guitarist Jake Dreyer, vocalist Stu Block and bassist Luke Appleton (the latter two of whom have since quit the band) — posted to Appleton’s Instagram account, writing, “We want to thank those of you who have sent words of support in recent days. Some of you have been concerned by our silence, which we understand. We needed some time to properly process the information and find out some facts before we made a statement.
“First and foremost we absolutely do not condone nor do we support riots or the acts of violence that the rioters were involved in on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol building. We hope that all those involved that day are brought to justice to be investigated and answer for their actions.
“With broken hearts we are sending our love and compassion to everyone who has felt pain from the events on January 6th. We are deeply saddened and our hearts go out to the families of the lives lost that day. There are really no proper words to console. Just know we are with you in your shock, grief and pain. Much love to you all.”
Words by Chris Krovatin