Hoosier Oath Keeper involved in Capitol riot pleads guilty to federal charges

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Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest inside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. – Demonstrators breached security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – The United State Department of Justice (DOJ) reported Friday that Columbus resident Jon Schaffer pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the Capitol riots on January 6.

DOJ said Schaffer, 53, admitted Friday that he breached the Capitol wearing a tactical vest and armed with bear repellent.

He pleaded guilty to unlawfully entering the U.S. Capitol to obstruct Congress’ certification of the U.S. presidential election results.

“Oath Keepers member Jon Schaffer has pleaded guilty to multiple felonies, including for breaching the Capitol while wearing a tactical vest and armed with bear spray, with the intent to interfere with Congress’ certification of the Electoral College results,” said Acting Deputy Attorney General John P. Carlin. 

According to his plea agreement, Schaffer admitted to being a founding lifetime member of the Oath Keepers, “a large but loosely organized collection of individuals, some of whom are associated with militias,” according to DOJ.

“The defendant in this case admits forcing his way into the U.S. Capitol on January 6 for the express purpose of stopping or delaying congressional proceedings essential to our democratic process. These actions are disgraceful and unacceptable,” said FBI Deputy Director Paul M. Abbate.

DOJ added that Schaffer also acknowledged that he was in Washington on January 6 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 to be fraudulent.

Officials said Schaffer wore a tactical vest and carried bear spray, a dangerous weapon and chemical irritant used to ward off bears. After the rally, he joined the large crowd that eventually entered the Capitol building by force and disrupted the joint session, causing members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence to be evacuated.

His plea agreement explains that he walked past the barriers intended to restrict access to the public and to locked doors on the building’s west side. Schaffer admitted to being part of the first group to push past the doors and into the Capitol building.

“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,” said the DOJ release.

The release explains, “The officers ultimately deployed a chemical irritant to disperse the mob. Schaffer was among the people who were sprayed in the face, after which exited while holding his own bear spray in his hands.”

Schaffer pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

With the combined charges, Schaffer faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Official court documents:

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