Thomas Hale-Cusanelli, an alleged Nazi sympathizer and Army reservist who prior to his arrest was working as a private contractor who lived on the base with security clearance at the Naval Weapons Station in New Jersey, was found guilty on five charges ranging from obstruction to disorderly conduct in the Capitol riot case.
The jury in this case, however, did not see images of Hale-Cusanelli impersonating an Adolf Hitler-style mustache. However, they were shown video, audio and social media images, as well as text messages involving his actions on and before the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
In those text messages, which were dated as early as October 2020 and were read out loud by government witnesses, Hale-Cusanelli held several conversations about election rigging. The texts also show he had used several homophobic, racist, anti-Black, and anti-Semitic terms. He would later testify in court that he was half-Jewish and Puerto Rican. Within those same text messages, Hale-Cusanelli used derogatory language regarding Vice President Kamala Harris writing: "this [N-word] got votes magically," and wrote about getting the “civil war started already.”
A day after Election Day, he wrote in a text message that the election was "definitely rigged." Jurors watched video from Jan. 6 where Hale-Cusanelli proclaimed, “America First is inevitable.”
A clean-shaven, Hale-Cusanelli took the stand in his own defense Thursday to proclaim to the 14-person jury that he didn’t know that the U.S. Congress met in the Capitol. However, earlier in the case, federal prosecutors read text messages at length where Hale-Cusanelli discussed the electoral college, and the belief the election was stolen, as will as lawmakers' roles in the election, in states that included Georgia, Ohio and Arizona.
The government alleges that Hale-Cusanelli used and later deleted YouTube posts where he was “proffering extreme political opinions and viewpoints under the title 'The Based Hermes Show,'" and hid evidence including clothing and a flagpole from January 6.
The case is being presided by U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump-appointed judge who has acquitted two other individuals in Jan. 6 cases. One defendant was acquitted on all charges, the other, Couy Griffin -- the leader of "Cowboys For Trump" -- was acquitted on one of the two counts.
Hours after the partial acquittal, Griffin traveled to Hagerstown, Maryland, to speak to the People’s Convoy, the now disbanded trucker convoy, where he proclaimed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should be "locked up."
Hale-Cusanelli faces sentencing September 16.