Iced Earth Guitarist and Oath Keeper Jon Schaffer’s Sentencing Delayed

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The sentencing date for Iced Earth guitarist and Oath Keepers member Jon Schaffer, who was the first person to plead guilty to storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, has been pushed back to August.

U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta on Monday, moved the date from July 19 to Aug. 2, according to The Republic, because his attorney, Marc Victor, “is scheduled to be out of the country.” Victor, who is part of Attorneys for Freedom Law Firm, claimed that prosecutors did not object to delaying sentencing until after he returns, per filings in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

The hearing has been delayed for the third time this year. Last month, Mehta agreed to push back Schaffer’s sentencing from April 5 to July 19. The judge had previously moved the date, originally Feb. 20, so Schaffer could undergo an undisclosed medical operation. Schaffer’s legal team had asked for him to be sentenced in September, following a recent appeals court decision that would overturn a sentencing enhancement used in punishing those who invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6.

The Republic reported that Schaffer’s lawyers also wanted to wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on a felony charge Schaffer had pleaded guilty to, obstructing an official proceeding. Mehta was not receptive to the request to wait for the Supreme Court.

In addition to the obstruction charge, Schaffer pleaded guilty to “entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon” in a deal he signed in April 2021. The obstruction charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while the latter charge’s max sentence is 10 years. Each of the charges carry fines of up to $250,000. The Department of Justice said it would recommend a sentence between 41 and 51 months in prison and fines somewhere between $15,000 and $250,000.

Schaffer is the sole original founding members of the heavy metal band Iced Earth, which formed 40 years ago originally under the name the Rose. The band’s last five albums, the most recent of which was 2017’s Incorruptible, charted in the Top 100 of Billboard’s albums chart. Schaffer also leads a side project, Sons of Liberty, which sings songs with political themes.

On Nov. 14, 2020, he and other Oath Keepers participated in the “Million MAGA March.” In an interview with a journalist during the march, he promised “a lot of bloodshed” if the U.S. were “to merge into some globalist, communist system.”

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On Jan. 6, 2021, he was photographed entering the U.S. Capitol, holding what authorities called “bear spray,” a form of pepper spray, while wearing an “Oath Keepers Lifetime Member” hat, affiliating him with the group of ad-hoc militias who claim to uphold the U.S. Constitution. The founder of that group, Stewart Rhodes, was sentenced last year to 18 months in prison after being found guilty in 2022 of running a seditious conspiracy.

This article was updated on April 3 at 8:40 p.m. to reflect the continued sentencing date from July 19 to Aug. 2.

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