Federal prosecutors just recommended 78 months in prison for convicted January 6th insurrectionist Timothy Hale-Cusanelli. Convicted in May of a felony count of obstructing an official proceeding and of four misdemeanors, the former Army reservist was among the first wave of rioters to breach the Capitol – taunting police that a “revolution was coming” and captured on CCTV inside the Capitol Visitor’s Center motioning for rioters to “advance” because “we need more people,” according to the sentencing memo.
During the trial, the Trump-supporting rioter feigned ignorance, claiming that he didn’t know Congress convened at the Capitol or that a vote certification was in session. The Department of Justice wrote:
“Hale-Cusanelli lied, and the jury saw through his lies.”
“Hale-Cusanelli knew that Capitol Grounds were restricted on January 6, 2021; he knew that the violence was being committed against police and against the building was wrongful; he knew that Congress was inside the building to certify the results of the election.”
The 32-year-old – infamously recognized sporting a Hitler mustache and haircut – was known for anti-semitic, inflammatory, and bigoted rhetoric directed at the Jewish community, women, and minorities.
Those with knowledge of the former security contractor’s ideologies told federal investigators that “the former reservist expressed support for killing Jews” and “babies born with any deformities or disabilities,” and that Hitler should have finished the job.
Shortly after the Capitol attack, the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) received information that the rioter participated in the breach and attempt to subvert the democratic process – enlisting Hale-Cusanelli’s roommate as a confidential human source (CHS). The rioter told the CHS he wished for a “civil war” that could create a “clean slate.”
“I’d give them 24 hours to leave the country. No. But also, yes. But no, what I would do is just arrest them all. Not all the Jews, …a lot, but yeah. I would purge.”
Closed caption video showed Hale-Cusanelli and other rioters aggressively flashing weapons and taunting the Capitol police. Officer Matthew Shephard testified to the posture, demeanor, and words of the insurrectionists. Hale-Cusanelli also interfered in the arrest of a rioter by Shephard, inserting himself into the altercation.
It isn’t just the defendant’s actions on January 6th and his violent rhetoric that have federal prosecutors concerned.
Since his arrest and detention on January 15, 2021, Hale-Cusanelli has been using his platform inside jail to organize, recruit and raise money. With the defendent’s propensity for violence, a pre-trial ruling determined that the Nazi sympathizer was “a danger to the community.” The convicted felon’s former co-workers described him as more than just a racist, but asserted that he had “suggested violence” towards those who “don’t look like him.”
According to the prosecutors’ sentencing memo, Mr. Hale-Cusanelli has not changed:
“There is no indication that Hale- Cusanelli thinks any differently or is any less inclined to put thoughts into action today than he was a year, or more, ago. According to reporting from inside the D.C. Jail, Hale-Cusanelli is known to draw ‘Nazi-style propaganda cartoons — such as [those] depicting Jewish people as pigs and dropping an atomic bomb on Israel.’ An inmate called Hale-Cusanelli’s drawings ‘hateful and inflammatory.’ Sources inside the jail also reported that Hale-Cusanelli has used the power of a fundraising organization spearheaded by his adoptive aunt to organize inmates and curry favor. One inmate said the situation was like ‘the movie Mean Girls, but with racist, antisemitic extremists.'”
Hale-Cusanelli is not a stranger to law enforcement or being arrested for violent tendencies – having allegedly stabbed his mother’s boyfriend in a past altercation.
“The police report noted that Hale-Cusanelli said he acted in self-defense and/or defense of his mother. Hale-Cusanelli was not charged in connection with this incident, so the circumstances surrounding this incident were never adjudicated,” per the court filing.
With the help of his adoptive aunt, Cynthia Hughes, Timothy Hale-Cusanellis has raised what prosecutors call a “substantial amount of money,” through an online campaign called the “Patriot Freedom Project,” described as “a hub for collecting and distributing donations for Capitol Riot defendants and their families.”
Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden is overseeing the hearing, with sentencing expected on September 22 at 10 am. Hopefully, Judge McFadden will accept DOJ attorney Kathryn E. Fifield’s recommendation – though 6.5 years doesn’t seem near enough for what the memo calls an “attack on the beating heart of democracy” by a convicted felon.
Read the sentencing memo here.
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