A Jan. 6 rioter who claimed he didn’t know Congress conducted its business at the U.S. Capitol despite being a self-described history buff was sentenced to four years in federal prison on Thursday.
“I disgraced my uniform and I disgraced the country,” Timothy Hale-Cusanelli told the court on Thursday, presumably referring to his military service, Ryan Reilly of NBC News reported.
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Hale-Cusanelli was found guilty in May of all five counts against him. One such charge was a felony for obstructing an official proceeding. Hale-Cusanelli admitted he entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, as he had posted videos of himself in the building on social media. But, he argued in court, he was unaware that members of Congress were meeting then. “I didn’t know the Capitol building was the same as the congressional building,” he told a prosecutor.
“I know this sounds idiotic, but I’m from New Jersey,” he told jurors this spring. “I feel like an idiot, it sounds idiotic, and it is,” he added.
Hale-Cusanelli had been jailed since Feb. 2021, partly due to prosecutors presenting to Judge Trevor McFadden substantial evidence of his past racist comments. According to prosecutors, 34 of his colleagues who were interviewed by the Naval Criminal Investigation Service said he held “extremist or radical views pertaining to the Jewish people, minorities, and women.”
Hale-Cusanelli, who was in the U.S. Army Reserves on Jan. 6 and was administratively discharged following his arrest, once said that “Hitler should have finished the job,” a Navy petty officer recalled, according to court documents. A Navy Seaman told investigators that Hale-Cusanelli said that if he were a Nazi, “he would kill all the Jews and eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and he wouldn’t need to season them because the salt from their tears would make it flavorful enough.” Hale-Cusanelli was apparently so fond of Hitler that he dressed up as him, several photographs from April 2020 show. He also went to work after having shaved his facial hair into a “Hitler mustache.”
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