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Iced Earth‘s Jon Schaffer named in lawsuit by D.C. Attorney General seeking damages for Capitol riots

Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth performs on stage at Manchester Academy on October 18, 2013 in Manchester, England.
(Image credit: Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns via Getty Images)

Iced Earth guitarist and vocalist Jon Schaffer has been named in a lawsuit by the District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine in part of an effort to recoup costs relating to the Capitol riots of January 6. 

Racine is attempting to recover millions of dollars in damages incurred by the DC authorities in defending and repairing the Capitol during the January 6 riots, alongside associated medical costs for police and frontline security workers.

The lawsuit was filed yesterday (December 14) in federal court in Washington, DC and accuses Schaffer and fellow defendants, which includes 30 members of the far-right Proud Boys and Oath Keepers organizations, of “conspiring to terrorize the District”.

Schaffer is named in the papers as a “a founding, lifetime member of the Oath Keepers.” He has previously pleaded guilty to two felonies relating to his role in the riots.

The papers state: “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.”

DC authorities incurred substantial costs defending the Capitol, spending millions of dollars on additional policing and medical expenses/leave for injured officers. In total, more than 140 officers were injured during the attack and three officers died.

"The defendants, as you know, were not tourists, nor were they acting patriotically,” said Racine in a press conference, after filing the suit. “They were vigilantes, members of a mob, insurrectionists who sought to crush our country's freedoms.”

Racine has pledged to seek “the maximum financial penalties” and, if successful, the suit could have significant implications for the financial positions of all those named, including Schaffer.

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Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.