Capitol Rioter Prosecutors Call a Nazi Sympathizer Is Convicted

Timothy Hale-Cusanelli testifies he didn't realize Congress met in the building
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 27, 2022 4:15 PM CDT
Capitol Rioter Prosecutors Call a Nazi Sympathizer Is Convicted
The Department of Justice motion to oppose the conditional release of Timothy Hale-Cusanelli ahead of his trial on charges stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol, is shown on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

(Newser) – A former US Army reservist described by prosecutors as a Nazi sympathizer was convicted Friday of storming the US Capitol to obstruct Congress from certifying President Biden's 2020 electoral victory. Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, who worked as a security contractor at a Navy base when he joined the pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, also was convicted of disorderly conduct and other misdemeanors. Hale-Cussanelli took the stand in his defense and claimed he didn't know that Congress met at the Capitol building, the AP reports.

"I know this sounds idiotic, but I'm from New Jersey," Hale-Cusanelli said, according to WUSA-TV. "In all my studies, I didn’t know there was an actual building that was called the 'Capitol.' It’s embarrassing and idiotic." Defense attorney Jonathan Crisp told jurors that "groupthink" and a desperate desire to be heard drove Hale-Cusanelli to follow a mob into the Capitol. Hale-Cusanelli's trial was the fifth before a jury and the seventh overall for a Capitol riot case. The first four juries unanimously convicted the defendants of all charges. Roughly 300 others have pleaded guilty to crimes stemming from the riot, including seditious conspiracy, and assault.

Prosecutors said Hale-Cusanelli openly espoused white supremacist and antisemitic ideology and wore an Adolf Hitler-style mustache to work. On his cellphone, investigators said, were photos of him with the distinctive mustache and combed-over hairstyle associated with the Nazi leader. Hale-Cusanelli had a "secret" security clearance as a security contractor at Naval Weapons Station Earle in Colts Neck, New Jersey. He lived on the base with a roommate who reported him to the Naval Criminal Investigation Service and secretly recorded a conversion about the Capitol riot. One Navy seaman said Hale-Cusanelli told him "he would kill all the Jews and eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner."

(Read more Capitol riot stories.)

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