On Monday, BuzzFeed News reported that federal officials are in "advanced plea negotiations" with a member of the far-right paramilitary group the Oath Keepers.
"The public filing had apparently been made in error — prosecutors had intended to file it under seal because the defendant, Jon Schaffer, was already providing information to the government," reported Zoe Tillman, Jessica Garrison, and Ken Bensinger. "Revealing his cooperation 'may reveal the existence, scope, and direction of the ongoing and confidential investigation,' Assistant US Attorney Ahmed Baset wrote in the brief, which was quickly removed from the public docket but has been viewed by BuzzFeed News. It was not immediately clear how the document ended up on the public docket."
Schaffer, who traveled to D.C. from Columbus, Indiana to participate in the Capitol riots, is charged with six crimes stemming from allegedly attacking Capitol Police with bear spray. He was seen wearing a cap bearing the words "Oath Keepers Lifetime Member" during the attack on the Capitol.
"Schaffer hasn't been indicted by a federal grand jury and Baset wrote that keeping Schaffer's case in its current position would help move along the plea talks," said the report. "If plea talks failed, Baset added in a footnote, 'the government is in a position to rapidly obtain an indictment' against him."
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