The negotiations with prosecutors and conductors were inadvertently revealed earlier this month when a sealed Justice Department file was accidentally added to the public file. “The government’s ongoing plea negotiations with this defendant are the first and most advanced pleadings involving any of the more than 300 Capitol Riot defendants,” the prosecutor wrote in the April 5 file.
The implications of Schaffer’s plea are not immediately clear. Prosecutors have accused a dozen members of the Oath Guards conspiring to stop Congressional certification of the January 6th 2020 election. However, so far there is little public evidence that Schaffer is linked to these defendants.
The Oath Keepers case, however, is one of the most famous that emerged from the attack on the Capitol when thousands of Donald Trump supporters descended on the Capitol and overpowered police officers – and in many cases attacked them. Hundreds of pro-Trump rioters broke into the building, forcing lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence to flee on security grounds.
Some of the oath guards were part of a security detail guarding longtime Donald Trump employee Roger Stone, who has denied any knowledge of the group’s incursion into the Capitol. The government also drafted hundreds of private messages that the Oath Guards exchanged to discuss their plans to participate in Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6 and to keep certain attendees safe. Prosecutors claim their news suggests the group prepared for violence that day, and they have continued to provide evidence that the Oath Guards stocked up on firearms prior to the Capitol incursion in the suburbs of Virginia.
Oath Guardian lawyers say the messages conveyed by prosecutors contain no reference to the storming of the Capitol. Rather, the lawyers argue that the Oath Guards wanted to protect themselves from potential violence by anti-Trump counter-protesters like Antifa.