A former US Army reservist and alleged Nazi sympathizer has been sentenced to four years in prison for his role in last year’s Capitol riots.
Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, 32, was a Navy contractor with a government security clearance when he joined the congressional storming in January 2021.
A jury in May convicted him on five counts, including a felony charge of obstructing an official proceeding.
Over 900 people have been charged with their involvement in the attack.
Hale-Cusanelli, who was the seventh riot defendant to go on trial, is among a handful charged who was on active duty in the military when he joined other Trump supporters in raiding Congress as he joined together to confirm the results of the 2020 presidential election. .
Prosecutors said he openly supported white supremacist and anti-Semitic ideologies, even wearing an Adolf Hitler-like mustache at work, and hoped for a second US civil war.
They also said that during an internal Navy investigation of Hale-Cusanelli, 34 of his colleagues said he had “extremist or radical views about Jewish people, minorities and women”.
One naval officer interviewed claimed to recall Hale-Cusanelli saying in an apparent reference to the Holocaust: “Hitler should have finished the job.”
The accused took the stand in his own defense at the trial, claiming that he did not know “that there was an actual building called the ‘Capitol'”.
“I feel like an idiot,” he said.
But lawyers for the government said he was lying, citing conversations Hale-Cusanelli had with his roommate in the days after the attack, in which he described the breach of the complex as “exciting”.
“Hale-Cusanelli is, at best, extremely tolerant of violence and death,” prosecutors said. “What Hale-Cusanelli was doing on January 6 was not activism, it was a prelude to his civil war.”
The defendant’s case was discussed at a Trump rally earlier this month, where her adopted aunt Cynthia Hughes – who raises money for riot defendants – spoke.
In a letter to support Hale-Cusanelli’s defence, Miss Hughes wrote that he is not a violent person and does not have “a racist bone in his body”.
At Thursday’s sentencing, Judge Trevor McFadden criticized the defendant’s testimony as a “plausible lie” and a “clear attempt” to avoid accountability.
Judge McFadden – a Trump appointee – said Hale-Cusanelli’s “racist and anti-Semitic incitement” had set him apart from other rioters.
Another January 6 defendant, Stephen Ayres, also learned of his fate Thursday.
Ayres, a former Trump supporter who testified this summer before the congressional committee investigating the attack, will be on 24 months’ probation.