“I thought there were several buildings called the ‘Capitol Building,'” Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, a suspected Nazi sympathizer and Army reservist, told the jury Thursday, adding that he was “from New Jersey” and that he was “idiot” and ignorant. “I didn’t realize Congress was meeting on Capitol Hill.”
Several jurors rolled their eyes during this explanation, and Hale-Cusanelli later said he was familiar with the workings of the Electoral College process and American politics in general, which he had taken courses on in college.
Judge Trevor McFadden said he found the complaint “highly dubious” after the verdict, suggesting he was open to an improvement against Hale-Cusanelli for obstruction of justice. Judgment is scheduled for September 16.
Hale-Cusanelli – who shouted at the crowd to ‘move on’ during the riot before entering the Capitol – was the fifth Jan. 6 rioter to be convicted by a jury in Washington, DC, and faces up to to 20 years behind bars for the crime of obstructing official process. The ultimate penalty, however, will likely be much lower.
Antisemitic insults and views
During the trial, prosecutors released a video of Hale-Cusanelli shouting a sexist slur at a female police officer during the riot and played audio and showed text messages from the defendant in which he expressed anti-Semitic views, accusing the Jewish people to control President Joe Biden, and said he wanted civil war.
Defense attorney Jonathan Crisp said prosecutors are trying to convict Hale-Cusanelli of his “offensive” and “abusive” language.
“He couldn’t stop,” Crisp said. “He couldn’t shut up to save his life. And that’s how he ended up here.”
Crisp also said that while Hale-Cusanelli “knew what he did was wrong,” he cannot be guilty of the obstruction of lawmakers charge because he didn’t even know they were there. in the building. Crisp said he had a “superficial knowledge of politics”.
But prosecutors said Hale-Cusanelli “knew exactly what he was doing that day,” adding that he was aiming to stop the Electoral College vote. “It was mission accomplished.”
“This defendant is not here today because of his [history of] bad words,” prosecutor Karen Seifert told the jury, but rather because “he and the crowd…decided to take matters into their own hands.”
At the center of the controversy in Hale-Cusanelli’s case are allegations that he is a Nazi sympathizer.
In previous hearings and court filings, prosecutors have referenced interviews with more than 30 of his Navy colleagues who heard Hale-Cusanelli say things like “Hitler should have finished the job.” Prosecutors also showed footage of Hale-Cusanelli with a Hitler mustache.
Hale-Cusanelli testified that his comments were “ironic” and that “I never really thought it was true.”
“I’m half-Jewish and half-Puerto Rican,” Hale-Cusanelli told the jury, adding that he didn’t really believe in the anti-Semitic notions he espoused, and that they were more of a form of “dirty humor.” self-mockery”. he used with his friends.
“I know it’s offensive. I know it upsets a lot of people. I know it’s disgusting. I know it’s disgusting,” he said.
Hale-Cusanelli also disputed his own claims in an audio recording, recorded by his former roommate after Jan. 6, that prosecutors played to the jury yesterday, in which he said Jews were “controlling President Biden.”
“If anyone supports Jewish interests the most, it’s the Republicans,” Hale-Cusanelli said.
This story has been updated with additional details.