An alleged Nazi sympathizer and former Army reservist was sentenced to four years in prison followed by 36 months of supervised release Thursday for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol building.
Timothy Hale-Cusanelli of Colts Neck, New Jersey, was found guilty earlier this year of obstruction of Congress. Prosecutors said Hale-Cusanelli traveled to Washington and was caught on video making harassing and derogatory comments toward police officers both inside and outside of the Capitol, according to court documents. He told police that a “revolution” was coming before entering.
After high school, Hale-Cusanelli entered the Army Reserve but was never deployed. At the time of the Capitol riot, he was working security at Naval Weapons Station Earle in New Jersey, where he held a “secret” security clearance and had access to explosives.
Prosecutors said in a memo that Hale-Cusanelli “subscribes to White Supremacist and Nazi-Sympathizer ideologies that drive his enthusiasm for another civil war.” He previously livestreamed his political opinions on YouTube under the title “Based Hermes Show.” Sentencing memos described how Hale-Cusanelli once showed up to work at the naval station dressed like Adolf Hitler and said at other times that “Hitler should have finished the job.”
Before he traveled to Washington, Hale-Cusanelli seemingly gave hints to his viewers and followers that a significant event was coming in the near future.
“Trust the plan, it’s the final countdown,” he wrote in an online post before the riot.
According to court documents, a confidential source recorded conversations with Hale-Cusanelli in which he said he went inside the Capitol and told the mob outside of the building to “advance” — motioning to the crowd with hand signals and shouting at them to move forward.
At one point, Hale-Cusanelli told the source that if the mob were larger, it would have been able to take over the entire building. He also said he took a flag and flagpole that he saw a rioter throw at a Capitol police officer like a “javelin.” His intent was to destroy the flagpole as soon as possible, describing it as a “murder weapon,” according to court documents.
He was arrested not long after the riot, on Jan. 17, 2021, and pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of obstruction of an official proceeding, as well as four related misdemeanors: entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
A year later, the government returned a superseding indictment, and Hale-Cusanelli was found guilty of all five charges on May 27.
He has garnered recent fame in Trumpworld, however. Earlier this month, his aunt appeared onstage at a rally with former President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, where she asked for sympathy.
“He dressed in a suit and tie and his favorite hat. Tim wanted to take part in what he thought was going to be a historical event. Instead, he witnessed a horror show,” she said.