A member of the Oath Keepers militia group and heavy metal guitarist on Friday became the first defendant to plead guilty to federal charges in connection with the US Capitol riot on January 6.
Jon Ryan Schaffer, who originally faced six charges, entered into a plea deal where he agreed to fully cooperate with investigating, including providing testimony and witness interviews, in exchange for only having to plead guilty to two charges. Through his guilty plea, Schaffer admitted to unlawfully entering the US Capitol “wearing a tactical vest and with bear spray, with the purpose of influencing, affecting, and retaliating against the conduct of government by stopping or delaying the Congressional proceeding by intimidation or coercion.”
Before accepting the plea, US District Judge Amit Mehta walked Schaffer through his charges of obstructing an official proceeding and entering restricted grounds with a dangerous weapon, as well as the terms of his plea agreement. Judge Mehta made clear to Schaffer that he could lose constitutional rights, including the right to vote and own firearms, by pleading guilty to federal felony charges.
Schaffer acknowledged that he understood the consequences of his plea. With no objections from the government, Judge Mehta allowed Schaffer to be released from the courthouse under specific conditions, including the removal of any firearms from his home.
Overall, about 300 suspects have already been charged in the Capitol attack, and the US Department of Justice expects to charge at least 100 additional suspects. This case is the first of many against several alleged leaders and members of the Oath Keepers in connection to the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.