Federal prosecutors are seeking six and a half years in prison for convicted Capitol rioter Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, who a jury found guilty of the felony charge of obstruction of an official proceeding and related misdemeanor offenses.
Hale-Cusanelli is a former Army reservist who has expressed sympathy — although that word might put it too lightly — for the ideologies of Adolf Hitler. He even showed up to work with facial hair modeled after the long dead dictator’s infamous look, and in conversations recorded by a confidential human source, he also spoke of the prospect of expelling Jewish people from the United States. He has also expressed support for killing babies born with disabilities — another brazenly Nazi-style idea. On top of all these troubling comments, Hale-Cusanelli also shared support in conversations after the Capitol riot for civil war. “I really fucking wish there’d be a civil war,” he rather bluntly told the confidential source.
Hale-Cusanelli is in pretrial detention ahead of his sentencing, and the prosecutors’ sentencing memo in Hale-Cusanelli’s case adds the defendant “has used the power of a fundraising organization spearheaded by his adoptive aunt to organize inmates and curry favor.” That “adoptive aunt” (Cynthia Hughes) was recently featured as a guest speaker at a Pennsylvania Trump rally, garnering criticism for the former president over the promotion of a criminal case involving a literal Nazi sympathizer.
During his trial, Hale-Cusanelli claimed ignorance in an attempted defense against the charge of obstruction. A guilty verdict on that charge evidently requires a level of intent, and Hale-Cusanelli argued that he wasn’t even familiar with the layout of Washington, D.C. “I know this sounds idiotic, but I’m from New Jersey,” he evidently testified at trial. Plenty of people from New Jersey are familiar with the concept, appearance, and location of the U.S. Capitol building. Per another available recap of his comments, he claimed at trial that he thought the process of certifying the presidential election outcome on January 6 “was going to be in a building called ‘Congress.’ As stupid as it sounds, I did not realize that Congress sat in the Capitol building… I didn’t know the Capitol building was the same as the congressional building.” U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, will handle Hale-Cusanelli’s sentencing in the near future (on September 22). After the jury’s conclusions were revealed at trial, McFadden already expressed doubts about arguments presented there from the convicted defendant.