A man charged with storming the Capitol in an Oath Keepers hat is negotiating a plea deal, federal prosecutors said in deleted filing

  • On Monday, prosecutors said they were were in the middle of plea negotiations with Jon Schaffer.
  • Schaffer has been accused of using bear spray to push past officers guarding the Capitol.
  • The document describing the deal was deleted soon after being published.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A heavy metal guitarist arrested in connection to the Capitol riot appears to be cooperating with prosecutors to get a plea deal, according to a Monday court filing. 

The filing appears to have been posted publicly in error and was taken down quickly. But before it was, outlets like BuzzFeed News and Politico were able to read it.

The US Attorney’s Office in DC was not immediately available to comment on Tuesday morning on why the filing had been published then removed.

The filing pertains to Jon Schaffer, founder of the heavy metal band Iced Earth, who has been accused of using bear spray on Capitol police officers at the January 6 riot. Images from the day show him wearing an Oath Keepers hat.

Prosecutors say Schaffer was carrying bear spray and clear sunglasses in the photos above from the riot.Department of Justice

The Oath Keepers are a far-right militia group, and several members (not including Schaffer) have been indicted by the Department of Justice for coordinating the January 6 riot using military-style tactics.

It’s unclear whether Schaffer, who’s from Indiana, actually has ties to the group. In a statement that doesn’t directly name Schaffer, but appears to refer to him, the Indiana Oath Keepers said he’s “NOT a member” of their chapter.

In a separate, still-public criminal complaint seen by Insider, Schaffer is charged on six counts linked to the riot, including violent entry, being in the Capitol unlawfully, and engaging in physical violence.

In the deleted filing, Assistant US Attorney Ahmed Baset wrote that Schaffer has been cooperating in “debrief interviews” with prosecutors since early March.

Baset described the government’s “ongoing plea negotiations” with Schaffer as “the first and most advanced plea negotiations involving any of the over 300 Capitol Riot defendants.”

On the table is the possibility of allowing Schaffer out on bail while he awaits trial, Baset wrote. Schaffer was arrested on January 17 and was ordered held without bail, according to WUSA-9.

In explaining why the filing needed to be made private, Baset explains how disastrous it could be if word gets out that Schaffer were cooperating with prosecutors. 

“If alerted to this information, investigation targets against whom the defendant may be providing information about could be immediately prompted to flee from prosecution, destroy or conceal incriminating evidence, alter their operational tactics to avoid future detection, attempt to influence or intimidate potential witnesses, and otherwise take steps to undermine the investigation and avoid future prosecution,” Baset wrote.

“Accordingly, these facts present an extraordinary situation and a compelling governmental interest which justify sealing of this filing pertaining to this investigation that is being submitted at this time.”

Read the full court filing below, via Politico:

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