Despite the seal request, the case appeared on the court’s public register on Monday afternoon, just hours before what had been a hearing scheduled for Tuesday on whether Schaffer should continue to be detained. At the request of both parties, Howell postponed the hearing to April 21.
The five-page brief describes the “good faith” efforts to strike a deal that would include Schaffer’s cooperation. While Schaffer’s involvement in the larger Oath Keepers organization is unclear, the U.S. lawyer in Washington accused a dozen members of the pro-Trump and anti-government paramilitary group of conspiring to stop certification by the government. 2020 Elections Congress.
“Based on these debriefing talks, the parties are currently engaged in good faith plea negotiations, including discussions on the possibility of concluding a cooperative plea agreement aimed at resolving the issue without indictment,” wrote the American assistant lawyers Ahmed Baset and Louis Manzo. . “Among the plea conditions considered when accepting a plea is the release of the defendant pending conviction.”
After a hearing last month, Washington-based Justice of the Peace Zia Faruqui ordered Schaffer to be detained pending trial. However, Schaffer’s lawyers appealed this decision to Howell. The government had been ready to respond to the effort, but requested a two-week delay as the two sides worked on a cooperation agreement.
Prosecutors said in Monday’s filing that they would quickly indict Schaffer if their plea negotiations failed within that time frame. They also indicated that disclosure of the existence of these plea discussions could jeopardize their criminal investigations.
“If this information is alerted, investigative targets against which the defendant could provide information could be immediately prompted to flee prosecution, destroy or conceal incriminating evidence, change their operational tactics to avoid future detection, attempt to influence or intimidate potential witnesses; and otherwise take steps to undermine the investigation and avoid future prosecution, ”Baset wrote. “Consequently, these facts present an extraordinary situation and a compelling government interest which justifies the sealing of this file relating to this investigation which is currently submitted.”