A Jan. 6 rioter and alleged Nazi sympathizer who once likened the attack on the U.S. Capitol to the Civil War has been sentenced to four years behind bars, according to CNN.
Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, an ex-U.S. Army reserve officer, was convicted this past May of five charges related to the events of Jan. 6, including a felony obstruction charge. In addition, Hale-Cusanelli will serve three years of supervised release following his sentence, and must also pay $2,000 in restitution.
According to CNN, security camera footage from Jan. 6 shows Hale-Cusanelli egging on the large mob, ordering them to "advance!" He is then seen pushing into the Capitol building himself and urging others to join him. Additional footage showed Hale-Cusanelli trying to free a rioter that was being arrested by a police officer.
During the sentencing, Hale-Cusanelli begged the judge for forgiveness, according to CNN, saying that he had "disrespected my uniform," and that the judge would "never see [his] face again."
However, District Judge Trevor McFadden was having none of it, and pointed to Hale-Cusanelli's history of "sexist, racist and antisemitic comments" that have circulated in the far-right communities online. McFadden also noted that he had lied during his testimony by claiming that he "didn't know" Congress met in the Capitol building, even though security cameras showed him right outside the doors of the House chamber.
“You absolutely knew what you and others were doing,” McFadden said, adding that this was a "significant sentence" and telling Hale-Cusanelli that he "normalizes violence."
Indeed, prosecutors pointed to Hale-Cusanelli's history of inflammatory rhetoric online. This includes describing Jan. 6 as "exhilarating" and a "civil war." Hale-Cusanelli has reportedly expressed his desire for a second civil war many times, while also spreading numerous antisemitic conspiracies.
This includes the disproven theory that the Jews control almost all of government, including President Joe Biden. “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 said.
While the defense argued that Hale-Cusanelli was not actually racist, and just spread these types of statements to get attention, this was not bought by the judge. During the proceedings, Hale-Cusanelli also claimed that he couldn't be antisemitic because he was half Jewish, though it remains unclear if this is true or not.
Hale-Cusanelli was not the only Jan. 6 insurrectionist to get sentenced on Thursday. Stephen Ayres, who previously testified for the Jan. 6 Select Committee, was sentenced to two years of probation and 100 hours of community service for his participation in the attacks.
During his testimony, Ayres claimed that he had been "riled up" by the words of former President Donald Trump, and, like Hale-Cusanelli, used the opportunity during his sentencing to apologize for his actions.