News & Politics

Report: It Looks Like the First of the Alleged January 6 Insurrectionists May Be Copping a Plea

Jon Schaffer is believed to be connected with the Oath Keepers, a right-wing militia group. He's reportedly in negotiations with the DOJ.

January 6, 2021: Pro-Trump rioters climb toward the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Photograph by Evy Mages

A legal document that accidentally became public shows that a defendant in the Capitol insurrection case is in “advanced plea negotiations” with federal prosecutors, according to WUSA9. If finalized, the deal would represent the first plea agreement involving any of the more than 300 men and women who have been charged in connection with the January 6 attack so far. 

The defendant involved in the plea negotiations, Jon Schaffer, is a heavy metal guitarist from Indiana who is believed to be connected to the Oath Keepers, a right-wing militia group, according to WUSA9. The FBI has claimed that Schaffer was among the group of attackers who used Bear spray to assault the Capitol police. He is currently facing a slew of federal charges related to the attack. 

Schaffer’s attorney and the Department of Justice attempted to file a joint motion under seal on Monday, according to WUSA9. But, in a mistake, the lawyers filed the documents publicly. 

According to WUSA9, the documents state that Schaffer and federal authorities are “engaged in good-faith plea negotiations” involving the possibility that Schaffer might provide information to the government in exchange for a reduced penalty. 

Although they were briefly available to the public, the documents have since been placed back under seal, according to WUSA9.

Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.