Avowed antisemite New Jersey Timothy Hale-Cusanelli was sentenced today to 48 months in prison on felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
According to the government’s evidence, Hale-Cusanelli drove to Washington on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021. He joined a mob of rioters that illegally breached a police line attempting to secure the Capitol grounds. He commanded others in the mob to “advance” on the Capitol, a command he continued once inside. Hale-Cusanelli was among the first rioters to enter the Capitol Building, moving inside shortly after the breach that took place at 2:12 p.m. at the Senate Wing Door. He made harassing and derogatory statements toward Capitol Police officers, saying that a “revolution” was coming. He remained in the building for approximately 40 minutes. Days after the incident, Hale-Cusanelli told a friend that being in the Capitol was “exhilarating,” he was hoping for a “civil war,” and that the “tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
Hale-Cusanelli was arrested on Jan. 15, 2021. He was found guilty by a jury on May 27, 2022, of a felony charge of obstruction of an official proceeding, and 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. At sentencing today, the Court found that Hale-Cusanelli obstructed justice during the trial, when he made certain statements under oath, and applied an enhancement to the sentence. Following his prison term, Hale-Cusanelli will be placed on three years of supervised release. He also must pay $2,000 in restitution.
Federal Judge Trevor McFadden determined Hale-Cusanelli’s neo-Nazi beliefs, render him a public threat, and held him in prison to await trial. “I am very concerned about the statements after January 6 suggesting that the defendant is looking forward to a civil war,” McFadden said in court after Hale-Cusanelli’s January 2021 arrest.
Hale-Cusanelli’s anti-Semitic social media diatribes against Jews while wearing a Hitler mustache shocked Lakewood residents. During his trial, he said he was unaware that the Capitol Building was the seat of Congress. “I know this sounds idiotic, but I’m from New Jersey,” Hale-Cusanelli said. “In all my studies, I didn’t know there was an actual building that was called the ‘Capitol.’ It’s embarrassing and idiotic.”
Jonathan Crisp, Hale-Cussanelli’s defense attorney, who has admitted his client is at time, “bombastic,” framed the defendant’s actions as a temper tantrum. “He’s simplistic in his thought processes,” a lawyer said. “He doesn’t think more than maybe 10 seconds in front of him. And then he reacts.”