Hale-Cusanelli is the host of the "Based Hermes" podcast, which promoted white supremacy by arguing for "minority control," blaming Jews for the 9/11 attacks and expressing sympathy for Adolf Hitler, according to the government. At the same time, the government said, Hale-Cusanelli was enlisted in the US Army Reserves and worked as a security contractor at Naval Weapons Station Earle in Colts Neck, NJ, where he maintained a 'secret' security clearance."
Since being arrested, Hale-Cusanelli has received an administrative discharged from the Army Reserves and is no longer allowed access to the facility where he worked, according to the government. The government also said he deleted past episodes of his podcast from YouTube after Jan. 6.
In a motion opposing release filed on March 12, the government cited a conversation recorded by a "confidential human source" who was wearing a wire for the FBI as evidence of Hale-Cusanelli's danger to the community.
During the conversation, which was recorded on Jan. 14, Hale-Cusanelli reportedly described feeling "the adrenaline, the rush, the purpose" during the insurrection, while offering that the closest comparison would be "civil war."
"Defendant stated that it was 'only a matter of time' before a civil war broke out along party lines,' but 'they' don't want to fire the first shot because all of the guns and resources are in Republican hands, and Republicans make up 70% of the military," the government motion says. "Defendant said that, in the event of civil war, 'it's not going to be New York and California winning the day; it's going to be the good old boys form [sic] the Midwest, Texas, Arkansas.' Defendant told CHS that he 'really wishes' there would be a civil war." He also reportedly told the confidential human source
The motion goes on to say that Hale-Cusanelli "then said that a civil war was probably the 'simplest solution,' the 'most likely outcome,' and the 'best shot' to obtain 'a clean bill of health, as a society.'" Hale-Cusanelli went on to tell the FBI informant: "I don't think we can fix the problems that Jews cause if you don't address all the things they do."
The government motion opposing Hale-Cusanelli's release cites the former military contractor and white supremacist as an example of the threat posed those who assaulted the Capitol.
"If nothing else, the events of January 6, 2021 exposed the size and determination of right-wing fringe groups in the United States, and their willingness to place themselves and others in danger to further their political ideology," the government said. "This threat is, unfortunately, still a reality. Releasing defendant to rejoin their fold poses a potentially catastrophic risk of danger to the community."
Hale-Cusanelli's ideology on its own would not justify continuing pre-trial detention, the government acknowledged, while arguing that his white supremacist beliefs must be considered in light of his desire for a civil war.
"Given that the defendant's desire for a civil war makes him a danger to the community, this court can and must consider defendant's ideology within the context of his dangerousness," the government insisted.
Detailing his involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection, the government motion said Hale-Cusanelli livestreamed himself walking from the Ellipse, where he attended President Trump's speech, to the Capitol. At 6th Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, the government said, Hale-Cusanelli encountered an individual who was carrying an "America First" flag, a symbol of the "Groyper Army" led by white nationalist podcaster Nick Fuentes. Expressing common cause, Hale-Cusanelli reportedly said on his livestream: "America First is inevitable."
Later, the government said that Hale-Cusanelli recorded videos of himself "screaming at and interfering with United States Capitol Police officers, climbing a scaffolding to enter the Capitol building through doors that had been kicked open by rioters, and chanting 'Stop the steal' with other protesters."
Hale-Cusanelli's commitment to white supremacy long predated his employment by HBC Management Services at Naval Weapons Station Earle.
Hale-Cusanelli was arrested in 2010 for using a 'potato gun made out of PVC pipe to shoot frozen corn at houses in Howell, NJ," according to the government motion. The gun was reportedly emblazoned with the words "White is right" and a drawing of the Confederate flag.
Then, in the summer of 2020, according to the government, Hale-Cusanelli showed up at a Black Lives Matter rally carrying what he described as a "clipboard full of statistics" while expressing the hope that someone would "debate him" about the differences between the races. The government extracted memes from Hale-Cusanelli's phone that convey crude, racist ideas, including one that mocks George Floyd.
One of the Hale-Cusanelli's supervisors at HBC Management Services told investigators from the Naval Criminal Investigation Service that she had to correct him for wearing a "Hitler mustache" to work. The same supervisor told investigators that Hale-Cusanelli posted in a workplace forum in advance of Jan. 6 that a "major announcement was coming soon," along with a "final countdown." The supervisor said she recalled Hale-Cusanelli saying he was going to leave HBC "in a blaze of glory."
Even with his open displays of racism, Hale-Cusanelli found people at his workplace who excused his conduct, including his supervisor, Sgt. John Getz, who penned a letter in support of his release after the insurrection.
"I was appalled at how he was slandered in the press in regards to him being a 'white supremacist,'" Getz wrote. "I have never known him to be this way. I know that our co-workers would agree."
The government said in its motion opposing Hale-Cusanelli's release that the claims in Getz's letter were directly contradicted by statements the supervisor made to the Naval Criminal Investigation Service.
The government motion quotes at length from an NCIS report on the interview with Getz.
When asked if Hale-Cusanelli "ever expressed beliefs about race or white supremacy," the notes say, Getz told investigators that Hale-Cusanelli "would make racial jokes and wouldn't be quiet about it."
The interview notes go on to say that when asked if he had any concerns about Hale-Cusanelli that he would like to discuss, Getz replied that he knew his subordinate "was a Nazi sympathizer and Holocaust denier, but nothing about Hale-Cusanelli's statements struck him as dangerous."
Getz also reportedly told investigators that Hale-Cusanelli would walk up to new people and ask, "You're not Jewish, are you?" Getz described Hale-Cusanelli's demeanor as "joking but not."
The discrepancy prompted FBI special agents to visit Getz at his home to request explanation. Confronted by his contradictions, Getz told agents he made the statements in the letter because "he wanted to 'speak positively' about the defendant for the bond hearing, and because he was not personally offended by the defendant's conduct," according to the government motion.
But many of Hale-Cusanelli's coworkers were unsparing in their assessment of his bigotry.
The NCIS found that 34 out of 44 colleagues interviewed for the investigation described Hale-Cusanelli "as having extremist or radical views pertaining to Jewish people, minorities and women" and that "the majority of the interviewees acknowledged that defendant was a white supremacist and/or gave examples, many of which were violent."
One Navy seaman, according to the investigation recalled Hale-Cusanelli as saying "babies born with any deformities or disabilities should be shot in the forehead." The same seaman reportedly recalled Hale-Cusanelli saying that if he was 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 if flavorful enough."
One Navy petty officer reportedly told investigators that Hale-Cusanelli talked constantly about Jews and said, "Hitler should have finished the job."
Another petty officer said Hale-Cusanelli said that "Jews, women and Blacks were at the bottom of the totem pole," while still another said he referred to Black people as "shit skinned minorities."
Arguing for Hale-Cusanelli's continued detention, the government said there is a serious risk that, if released, he "will obstruct or attempt to obstruct justice, or threaten, injure, or intimidate, or attempt to threaten, injure, or intimidate a prospective witness."
One contractor in particular, according to the government, told an investigator "that no one wanted to report defendant because he was 'crazy' and people were afraid he would find out who reported him."
The contractor, according to the government motion, "reported that defendant '100% had a problem with Jewish people' and that defendant stated 'they are ruining everything and did not belong here.' Hale-Cusanelli "spoke of his dislike of Jews every day," the contractor said.