WASHINGTON — A U.S. Military reservist who labored on a Navy base stormed the U.S. Capitol as a result of he needed to kick off a civil conflict and create ‘a clear slate,’ a federal prosecutor stated Tuesday at the beginning of the New Jersey man’s trial.
However a lawyer for Timothy Hale-Cusanelli instructed jurors that ‘groupthink’ and a determined need ‘to be heard’ drove him to comply with a mob into the Capitol. Hale-Cusanelli should not have entered the constructing on Jan. 6, 2021, protection lawyer Jonathan Crisp acknowledged throughout the trial’s opening statements.
‘However the query of why he was there’s what’s necessary,” Crisp added.
Hale-Cusanelli is charged with obstructing the joint session of Congress convened to certify President Joe Biden’s electoral victory. He is not charged with participating in any violence or property destruction that day.
Assistant U.S. Lawyer Kathryn Fifield performed a video that captured Hale-Cusanelli yelling profanities at cops guarding the Capitol and screaming, ‘The revolution shall be televised!’
‘This was not a peaceable protest,’ she stated.
In pretrial court docket filings, prosecutors introduced proof that coworkers described Hale-Cusanelli as a white supremacist, a Nazi sympathizer and a Holocaust denier who wore a Hitler-style mustache to work. On Hale-Cusanelli’s cellphone, investigators discovered photographs of him with the distinctive mustache together with pro-Nazi cartoons.
It is unclear from on-line court docket filings how a lot of that proof, if any, shall be admissible at trial. In her opening statements, Fifield solely made a quick reference to Hale-Cusanelli having bigoted views about Jewish folks.
Crisp has argued that any testimony about Hale-Cusanelli’s alleged statements about Jewish folks and their function within the U.S. authorities could be “extremely prejudicial in nature with out substantive worth.”
Crisp stated Hale-Cusanelli believed then-President Donald Trump’s false claims a few stolen election. However the protection lawyer stated Hale-Cusanelli went to Washington, D.C., to peacefully protest, sporting a go well with whereas many others wore tactical gear.
Hale-Cusanelli’s trial is the fifth earlier than a jury and the seventh general for a Capitol riot case. The primary 4 juries unanimously convicted the riot defendants of all fees.
U.S. District Decide Trevor McFadden, who’s presiding over Hale-Cusanelli’s trial, determined two different Capitol riot instances after listening to testimony with no jury. After bench trials, McFadden acquitted one of many defendants of all fees and partially acquitted the opposite.
Greater than 800 folks have been charged with Capitol riot-related crimes. A lot of then are army veterans. Hale-Cusanelli is amongst just a few who have been on lively obligation on the time of the riot.
Hale-Cusanelli was arrested lower than two weeks after the assault and has remained jailed since February 2021.
Earlier than his arrest, Hale-Cusanelli lived in Colts Neck, New Jersey, and labored there as a safety contractor at Naval Weapons Station Earle, the place he had a ‘secret’ safety clearance. He additionally was a sergeant within the U.S. Military Reserves.
One Navy seaman stated that Hale-Cusanelli instructed him ‘he would kill all of the Jews and eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and he would not have to season them as a result of the salt from their tears would make it flavorful sufficient,’ in response to prosecutors. Different coworkers recalled Hale-Cusanelli making derogatory remarks about girls, Black folks and different minorities, prosecutors stated.
Jurors are anticipated to listen to testimony from a roommate who lived with Hale-Cusanelli on the bottom and recorded their dialog in regards to the riot.
Fifield stated Hale-Cusanelli instructed his roommate that the riot felt like a civil conflict and hoped that it ‘would offer a clear slate.’ He additionally paraphrased a Thomas Jefferson citation in saying that ‘the tree of liberty have to be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants,’ in response to the prosecutor.
Crisp stated Hale-Cusanelli was ‘filled with adrenaline and stupidity’ when he returned to New Jersey and spoke to his roommate about his actions in Washington. The protection lawyer described him as a bombastic agitator inclined to creating ‘excessive statements to get consideration.”
Hale-Cusanelli was discharged from the Military Reserve and barred from the Navy base after his arrest.
Hale-Cusanelli is charged with 5 counts: obstruction of an official continuing, getting into or remaining in a restricted constructing or grounds, disorderly or harmful conduct in a restricted constructing or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol constructing, and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol constructing. The obstruction cost is a felony. The remainder are misdemeanors.