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Guitarist is 1st suspect to plead guilty in Capitol riot

Capitol riots
Posted at 1:56 PM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 13:56:32-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — A heavy metal guitarist has become the first defendant to plead guilty to federal charges in connection with the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Jon Ryan Schaffer is the frontman of the band Iced Earth.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said Friday he has agreed to cooperate with investigators in hopes of getting a lighter sentence, and the Justice Department will consider putting Schaffer in the federal witness security program.

According to The Associated Press, Schaffer was accused of spraying police officers with bear spray and storming the Capitol.

He pleaded guilty to obstructing an official proceeding and entering and remaining in a restricted building with a dangerous or deadly weapon, The AP reported.

According to prosecutors, Schaffer wore a tactical vest and baseball hat that read “Oath Keepers Lifetime Member," and in his plea agreement, Schaffer acknowledged that he is a “founding lifetime member” of the extremist group, The AP reported.

This signals that federal prosecutors see him as a valuable cooperator as they continue to investigate the militia groups and other extremists involved in the insurrection on Jan. 6 as Congress was meeting to certify President Joe Biden's electoral win.