The attorneys for ICED EARTH's Jon Schaffer have filed a motion to dismiss the charges against the guitarist for his involvement in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Court documents filed by Schaffer's attorneys on March 9 — and obtained by BLABBERMOUTH.NET — request that he be released immediately under the claim that the government has violated the Speedy Trial Act, which establishes maximum time periods for different stages of a federal criminal prosecution. Since the Speedy Trial Act required the government to file an information or an indictment within 30 days of Schaffer's arrest, the "complaint must be dismissed," they wrote.
Schaffer is still awaiting extradition extradition to Washington D.C., nearly seven weeks after U.S. Magistrate for the Southern District of Indiana judge Mark Dinsmore signed an order for the ICED EARTH guitarist to appear in D.C.'s district court. Schaffer is being held by the U.S. Marshal Service at the Marion County Jail.
The 52-year-old musician, who resides in in Edinburgh, Indiana, is facing six federal criminal charges after he was accused of spraying a police officer with a pepper-based bear repellant during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
According to Politico, the D.C.-based team of federal prosecutors has been stretched thin as the Justice Department and courts are trying to prosecute and process hundreds of people accused of storming the Capitol more than two months ago. While in all of last year, the D.C. federal court recorded 290 cases in its criminal docket for major crimes, so far this year, 199 such cases have already been filed, nearly all of them against alleged Capitol rioters.
Schaffer waived his preliminary hearing as well as his rights to an identity hearing and production of a warrant seven weeks ago in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, court documents state. He was supposed to be transported by a United States marshal to Washington, D.C. where government lawyers and Schaffer's legal team have mutually agreed to handle all proceedings.
Schaffer is entitled to a hearing on the issue of pretrial detention upon his arrival in D.C., court documents said.
Seven weeks ago, government lawyers asked the judge to not offer Schaffer a bond when he goes in front of U.S. magistrate.
Schaffer must prove to the federal magistrate that he is not a threat to himself or the public before being released on bail. Others who have been charged for insurrection at the Capitol have been given bail but ordered to surrender their firearms, avoid contact with other alleged Capitol rioters and stay away from all state capitol buildings. Some other alleged rioters have been prohibited from using social media and participating in any political rallies.
Last month, a man resembling Schaffer was seen in newly released security footage from the U.S. Capitol riot that the House impeachment managers obtained and submitted as evidence for former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial. The clip in question, which was released by CNN on February 15, shows rioters charging through a breached entrance and engaging and pushing officers. Schaffer can be seen near the front of the mob, wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, a tactical vest and black leather fingerless tactical gloves, and pointing his finger while yelling at the officers.
Schaffer was photographed wearing an "Oath Keepers Lifetime Member" cap during the insurrection. The Oath Keepers describe themselves as an association of former law enforcement and military personnel dedicated to "support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic." But the Anti-Defamation League describes it as "a large but loosely organized collection of right-wing anti-government extremists who are part of the militia movement, which believes that the federal government has been coopted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights."
Schaffer has been held in the Marion County Jail since surrendering to police on January 17. He made his first court appearance the following day.
Just hours after the insurrection, ICED EARTH fans recognized Schaffer in a photo released by federal investigators.
Schaffer is believed to be one of at least 400 people who are being investigated by FBI officials over their roles in the insurrection.
More than 250 criminal cases have been filed so far. Charges include unauthorized access, theft, damage to government property and assault on law enforcement officers.