Jon Tyan Schaffer, a heavy metal guitarist with possible ties to the Oath Keepers right-wing paramilitary group, is the first pro-Trump rioter involved in the January 6 Capitol attack to plead guilty to two crimes.
Schaffer, who was attached with a music band called Iced Earth, pleaded guilty for entering the Capitol building with a dangerous weapon and for the obstruction of an official proceeding. He agreed that he was carrying bear spray on the night of the riot.
The final sentencing decision will be given by the federal judge overseeing Schaffer's case, Amit Mehta. His attorneys and prosecutors have agreed to recommend Schaffer be sentenced to 3.5 to 4.5 years in prison, based on this level of cooperation with the government, reported CNN.
As per court filings, Schaffer last month met with federal investigators for multiple "debrief interviews". He was likely asked questions about the far-right paramilitary group, Oath Keepers with many people facing charges of conspiracy. His attorneys have tried to isolate Schaffer from the group saying that the "Oath Keepers Lifetime Member" hat he was seen wearing on January 6 was bought on the night of the riot and he doesn't know anything about the group.
A few members resigned from Schaffer's Indiana based band, Iced Earth as a sign of protest against his role in the attack, reported CNN.
John Carlin, acting Deputy Attorney General said in a statement on Friday, "The FBI has made an average of more than four arrests a day, seven days a week since January 6th. I commend the hundreds of special agents, prosecutors and support staff that have worked tirelessly for the last 100 days to bring those who committed criminal acts to justice."
The guitarist was originally charged with accounts of six federal crimes. A magistrate judge was alarmed by Schaffer's potential association with extremist group Oath Keepers and that he carried bear spray in the Capitol. He ordered him to stay in jail as his case moved forward.
But Schaffer agreed to cooperate, and potentially testify for related crimes as per court proceedings and could be shown some leniency in his sentence for this cooperation. The Justice Department may urge the judge to lower his sentence, reported CNN.