The Slatest

Prosecutors: Army Reservist Charged in Capitol Riot Was Nazi Sympathizer Who Talked of Disliking Jews

Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Brent Stirton/Getty Images

Former co-workers of an Army reservist who has been charged in taking part in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot described him as an avowed white supremacist who did not make any effort to hide his dislike of Jews. It was no secret that Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, who worked as a security contractor and held a secret-level security clearance, was a racist. When he was arrested Jan. 15 and accused of storming the Capitol, prosecutors characterized him as an “avowed white supremacist” who sympathized with the Nazis. But a new court filing, which was first reported by Politico, included results from an extensive Naval Criminal Investigative Service probe that revealed troubling details about his views that were well known to his co-workers.

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Investigators interviewed 44 of Hale-Cusanelli’s colleagues and 34 of them agreed he held “extremist or radical views pertaining to the Jewish people, minorities, and women.” One even said that he talked daily about how much he disliked Jews and a supervisor said he once had to discipline him for sporting a “Hitler mustache.” A colleague recalled that Hale-Cusanelli once said “Hitler should have finished the job.”

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The revelations were included as part of an effort to push back against an effort by Hale-Cusanelli’s lawyers to have him released on bond. Prosecutors said that Hale-Cusanelli should remain behind bars because he has “harbored a fantasy of participating in another Civil War,” which “makes him a danger to the community.” That danger is more acute now that he has been discharged from the Army Reserves and no longer has a job. If he is released pending trial, he will have nowhere to go and nothing to do but look for “the adrenaline, the rush, the purpose” that he found from squaring off against Capitol Police officers and storming the Capitol building on January 6, 2021,” assistant U.S. Attorney James Nelson wrote.

Hale-Cusanelli’s case has garnered lots of attention in part because it illustrates how white supremacists participated in the Capitol riot. It also provides a stark illustration of the challenges that lay ahead as military leaders try to detect extremist and racist views among servicemembers.

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