JTA — A Navy contractor and ex-Army reservist who took part in the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol and has a history of making antisemitic and white supremacist statements was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison.
Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, who sported a “Hitler mustache” and was known to joke about killing and eating Jews, was captured on video breaching the Capitol and leading others inside in a right-wing mob’s efforts to prevent the Senate to certify Joe Biden’s election as president.
Hale-Cusanelli, 32, of Colts Neck, New Jersey, was employed as an armed security officer for Naval Weapons Station Earle in New Jersey when he joined the January 6 attack.
In May, a jury convicted him of obstructing Congress from certifying US President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. Prosecutors said Hale-Cusanelli lied when he testified at his trial that he didn’t know Congress sat in the Capitol or that its joint session for certifying the Electoral College vote was taking place there on January 6.
At Hale-Cusanelli’s sentencing, US District Judge Trevor McFadden said his “sexist, racist and antisemitic comments” were motivators for his actions on that fateful day. He did not appear to belong to any organized hate groups.
The fifth January 6 defendant to face a jury trial, Hale-Cusanelli gained outsized public attention owing to his Hitler-styled appearance and an uncovered history of antisemitic and white supremacist activity (though he unsuccessfully argued at his trial that his comments were “ironic humor,” not what he really believed, and also claimed to be half-Jewish and half-Puerto Rican).
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 U.S. Capitol, is photographed on May 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)
He was held in custody until his trial in part because prosecutors argued the New Jersey native would be a danger to the local Jewish community if he were released.
Prosecutors, had sought a sentence of six years and six months, continued to hammer home his ideological leanings at his sentencing, where he also received three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution.
“It is well established in the record at this point that Hale-Cusanelli subscribes to White Supremacist and Nazi-Sympathizer ideologies that drive his enthusiasm for another civil war and formed the basis of this Court’s pretrial determination that Hale-Cusanelli was a danger to the community,” prosecutor Kathryn Fifield wrote in her sentencing memorandum.
At least 880 people have been charged with Capitol riot-related federal crimes. Approximately 400 of them have pleaded guilty and more than 250 have been sentenced.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.