Guitarist pleads guilty in US Capitol riot

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A heavy metal guitarist has became the first defendant to plead guilty to federal charges in connection with the riot at the US Capitol.

Jon Ryan Schaffer, the frontman of the band Iced Earth, has agreed to co-operate with investigators in hopes of getting a lighter sentence, and the Justice Department will consider putting Schaffer in the federal witness security program, US District Judge Amit Mehta said.

This signals that federal prosecutors see him as a valuable co-operator as they continue to investigate the militia groups and other extremists involved in the violence on January 6 as Congress was meeting to certify President Joe Biden's electoral win.

Schaffer, a supporter of former president Donald Trump, was accused of storming the Capitol and spraying police officers with pepper spray.

He pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors in federal court in Washington DC to two counts: obstruction of an official proceeding and entering and remaining in a restricted building with a dangerous or deadly weapon.

The Justice Department has indicated it is in separate plea negotiations with other defendants.

Authorities say Schaffer was caught on camera holding bear spray and engaging in verbal altercations with officers in the Capitol.

Schaffer was wearing a baseball hat that read "Oath Keepers Lifetime Member" on January 6 but was not charged in the large case involving members and associates of the Oath Keepers militia group, who are accused of conspiring with one another to block the certification of the vote.

He turned himself in to the FBI a few weeks following the riot after his photograph was featured on an FBI poster seeking the public's help in identifying rioters.