Attorneys Struggling To Find ICED EARTH Guitarist JON SCHAFFER Sunday October 2 2022, 12:26 PM
Attorneys Struggling To Find ICED EARTH Guitarist JON SCHAFFER

According to   The Republic , process servers tasked with hand-delivering notice to   ICED EARTH   guitarist   Jon Schaffer   that the District of Columbia was suing him in federal court related to his actions during the January 6 insurrection have been unable to notify the musician that legal action was being taken against him.

At least 25 separate attempts to serve   Schaffer   at seven different addresses across three different states have been made but he has so far managed to evade process servers and private investigators who had been on his trail for months.

Earlier this year, the District Of Columbia asked federal law enforcement officials involved in an ongoing criminal case against   Schaffer   for "any information the Department of Justice is willing to share as to   Schaffer 's present location" but had not received help from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Among the addresses where the process server had attempts on record to locate   Schaffer   were three residences in the Columbus, Indiana area; a house near Orlando, Florida where   Schaffer 's mother lives; an address in Georgetown, Delaware; an apartment in Crystal City, Florida; and a gated mobile home community in Auburndale, Florida. At the Auburndale location, a process server noticed the name " J. Schaffer " written on a callbox and a Jeep and Dodge Charger with Indiana license plates parked outside the mobile home. However, nobody answered the door when she knocked.

"The District now believes that   Schaffer   is hiding from process servers in a mobile home in Auburndale, Florida," according to court filings. "Since locating that address, the District has attempted service there at least five times, yet   Schaffer   refuses to answer the door — thereby preventing effective service absent further relief from the court."

Last December,   Schaffer   and more than two dozen other members of the   Oath Keepers   and the   Proud Boys   were sued by District of Columbia Attorney General   Karl Racine   in an effort to recover the millions of dollars the city spent to defend the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 attack.

According to   CNN , the lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., accuses 31 members of the extremist groups of "conspiring to terrorize the District" on January 6, calling their actions "a coordinated act of domestic terrorism." The lawsuit cites the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, a federal law created after the Civil War to protect civil rights and, as   Racine   noted, "to protect against vigilantes and insurrectionists."

"I think the damages are substantial,"   Racine   told   The Washington Post . "If it so happens that it bankrupts or puts these individuals and entities in financial peril, so be it."

The 84-page complaint, which can be found at   this location , describes   Schaffer   as "a founding, lifetime member of the   Oath Keepers ." It goes on to say: " Schaffer   was criminally charged and indicted for his role in perpetrating the January 6th Attack. In connection with a promise to cooperate with investigators and potentially testify in criminal cases related to the conspiracy to commit the January 6th Attack,   Schaffer   pleaded guilty to the entire Statement of Offense in the criminal action brought against him, which included two felony offenses: (1) trespass of the Capitol while armed with a deadly or dangerous weapon and (2) obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress. The Criminal Complaint filed against   Schaffer —as well as   Schaffer 's Plea Agreement and the accompanying Statement of Offense describing his conduct—are publicly available documents that are hereby incorporated into the Complaint by reference."

"No one bore the brunt of this gutless attack more than the courageous law enforcement officers including the men and women of the DC Metropolitan Police Department who went into the fire and violence with one objective in mind: remove the violent mob and restore our country's fragile democracy,"   Racine   said at a news conference.

"The defendants, as you know, were not tourists, nor were they acting patriotically," he added. "They were vigilantes, members of a mob, insurrectionists who sought to crush our country's freedoms."

According to   The Republic , a federal judge on Friday issued an order to temporarily halt the civil action until the criminal trial against   Oath Keepers   founder   Stewart Rhodes , who is among the defendants in the civil action, is concluded.

As part of his April 2021 plea deal,   Jon   entered into a cooperation agreement with the government.

Although   Schaffer   was initially charged with six crimes, including engaging in an act of physical violence and targeting police with bear spray, he pleaded guilty to only two charges: 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 is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, while the second carries up to a 10-year prison term.

In his plea agreement,   Schaffer   acknowledged that on January 6, 2021 he was in Washington to attend the   "Stop The Steal"   rally at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. to protest the results of the presidential election, which he believed were fraudulent.   Schaffer   wore a tactical vest and carried bear spray, a dangerous weapon and chemical irritant used to ward off bears. When the rally finished,   Schaffer   joined a large crowd that marched from the Ellipse to the Capitol, where a joint session of Congress, presided over by   Vice President Michael Pence , was in session to certify the electoral college vote results. Shortly after 2:00 p.m., members of the mob forced entry into the Capitol building, disrupting the joint session and causing members of Congress and the Vice President to be evacuated from the House and Senate chambers.

In his plea agreement,   Schaffer   admitted that after arriving on Capitol grounds, he walked past barriers intended to restrict access to the public and to a set of locked doors on the Capitol's west side. At approximately 2:40 p.m.,   Schaffer   positioned himself at the front of a crowd that broke open a set of doors being guarded by four U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officers wearing riot gear.   Schaffer   admitted to being among the first individuals to push past the damaged doors and into the Capitol building, forcing officers to retreat.   Schaffer   and others advanced toward five or six backpedaling USCP officers while members of the mob swelled inside of the Capitol and overwhelmed the officers. The officers ultimately deployed a chemical irritant to disperse the mob.   Schaffer   was among the people who were sprayed in the face, after which he exited while holding his own bear spray in his hands.

After pleading guilty,   Schaffer   was released on the following conditions:

*   Schaffer   must submit to court supervision in the Northem Dlstrict of Indiana.

*   Schaffer   will surrender his passport and any other international travel documents.

* Must stay outside of D.C. except for court hearings and meetings with attorneys.

* Will be permitted to travel within the continental United States with notice to pretrial services.

*   Schaffer   cannot possess any firearms or explosive devices, including legally owned firearms. Any firearms must be removed from his home.

As part of the plea deal,   Schaffer   agreed to cooperate with investigators and potentially testify in related criminal cases, according to   CNN . In return for   Schaffer 's assistance, the Justice Department might later urge the judge to show leniency during his sentencing.

As part of the agreement, the Justice Department has offered to sponsor   Schaffer   for the witness protection program.

The 54-year-old musician was the first Capitol riot defendant to reach a plea deal.

The Indiana chapter of the   Oath Keepers   distanced itself from   Schaffer   after his arrest, claiming he was not a member of the local group. But the national organization, which sells lifetime memberships for $1,200, has not commented on his alleged affiliation with the group.

At a November 2020   Donald Trump   rally in Washington, D.C.,   Schaffer   was videotaped walking behind a Florida couple,   Kelly Meggs   and   Connie Meggs , who were accused of being among 10 members of the   Oath Keepers   to have played a leading role in the Capitol assault. According to federal authorities,   Kelly   and   Connie Meggs   plotted for weeks ahead of the attack, attended training sessions and recruited others.   Kelly Meggs   is the head of the   Oath Keepers ' chapter in Florida.

Following the initial reports that   Schaffer   was involved in the riot, his   ICED EARTH   bandmates distanced themselves from his actions. Singer   Stu Block   and bassist   Luke Appleton   later posted separate statements on social media announcing their resignations.   BLIND GUARDIAN   frontman   Hansi Kürsch   also quit   DEMONS & WIZARDS , his long-running project with   Schaffer . The allegations also apparently affected   Schaffer 's relationship with his longtime record label   Century Media , which had released albums from both   ICED EARTH   and   DEMONS & WIZARDS . As of mid-January 2021, the   Century Media   artist roster page did not list either band.

In the 21 months since January 6, 2021, more than 870 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 265 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. Via Blabbermouth

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