Artist News Legal

Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer arrested over Capitol attack

By | Published on Tuesday 19 January 2021

Jon Schaffer

Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer is in FBI custody after being charged with various crimes related to the 6 Jan attack on the US Capitol building. The musician reportedly handed himself in on Sunday.

The various charges relate to forced entry into the Capitol building, use of physical violence and disrupting government business. The FBI also said on Twitter that Schaffer is suspected of attacking police officers with ‘bear spray’.

Among various pieces of evidence in the case against Schaffer is an interview he gave to a reporter while on the pro-Trump protest march prior to the attack on the Capitol building. In that interview, he said that he was there to protest the election result, and that he and others were willing to do so violently if necessary.

“If somebody wants to bring violence, I think there’s a lot of us here that are ready for it”, he said at one point. “We don’t want that, but if they bring it we’re going to respond to that, trust me”.

He was later photographed several times inside the Capitol building, which made him a key “person of interest” in the FBI’s investigation into the attack.

After Schaffer was identified in those photographs earlier this month, Iced Earth released a statement distancing themselves from him, saying: “We absolutely DO NOT condone nor do we support riots or the acts of violence that the rioters were involved in on 6 Jan at the US Capitol building. We hope that all those involved that day are brought to justice to be investigated and answer for their actions”.

Schaffer is now one of 78 people charged over the 6 Jan incident, with more expected to join that list. Several have called on Donald Trump to pardon them before he leaves office, arguing that they were acting on his instructions.

Trump is expected to pardon up to 100 people later today, although it’s not clear exactly who will be on that list. It seems likely that even he realises that pardoning the rioters he insists he didn’t incite might not be a good look. Who knows though?

One person thought to be on the pardon list, however, is rapper Lil Wayne. He was charged with federal gun offences in December after being found with a gun and ammunition on a private jet. Receiving a pardon would mean he would not have to face those charges and – more importantly – a potential ten year prison sentence.