The Jan. 6 rioter who openly wore a “Hitler mustache” to his job at a Navy base was convicted on all counts Friday after testifying that he didn’t know Congress met inside the Capitol — and blamed his ignorance on growing up in New Jersey.
Timothy Hale-Cusanelli made the astounding claim after taking the witness stand in his own defense at his trial in Washington, DC, federal court last week.
“I know this sounds idiotic, but I’m from New Jersey,” Hale-Cusanelli said, according to WUSA-TV.
“In all my studies, I didn’t know there was an actual building that was called the ‘Capitol.’ It’s embarrassing and idiotic.”
Following the verdict, federal Judge Trevor McFadden called the testimony “highly dubious” and suggested he’d consider imposing a tougher sentence because of it.
Hale-Cusanelli held a “secret” security clearance to work at Naval Weapons Station Earle in Colts Neck, NJ, and served as an Army reservist before his arrest for storming the Capitol to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral victory over former President Donald Trump.
He was caught on camera shouting profanities at cops and screaming, “The revolution will be televised!”
Prosecution court papers also portrayed him as a white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer who dreams of a second American civil war, and whose cellphone held photos of him sporting an Adolf Hitler-style mustache and haircut while smirking for the camera on the job in April 2020 and also while scowling and holding his hand over his heart.
McFadden barred prosecutors from using the photos as evidence, but jurors learned about text messages in which Hale-Cusanelli told his friends how the 2020 election results could be overturned and made racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs against Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and other Democrats.
Jurors also saw a video of him attempting to wave other rioters inside the Capitol through a skylight and heard an incriminating, post-riot conversation secretly recorded by his NWS Earle roommate, who reported him to the Naval Criminal Investigation Service.
During his testimony, Hale-Cusanelli identified himself as half-Jewish and half-Puerto Rican, and defense lawyer Jonathan Crisp described him as someone who made “extreme statements to get attention.”
Crisp — who noted that Hale-Cusanelli wore a suit to peacefully protest the election results — also blamed his client’s decision to join the mob that stormed the Capitol on “groupthink” and a desire “to be heard.”
Jurors deliberated less than six hours before convicting Hale-Cusanelli on one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, a felony, and four related misdemeanors.
One juror told WUSA that he was troubled by Hale-Cusanelli’s use of anti-Semitic slurs, given his testimony that he’s half-Jewish.
Hale-Cusanelli’s adoptive aunt, Cynthia Hughes — who runs the Patriot Freedom Project to support the families of Jan. 6 defendants — denounced the verdict outside the courthouse.
“There will never be a fair and impartial jury in this city,” she said.
Hale-Cusanelli, who’s been held without bail since his arrest on Jan. 15, 2021, is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 16.
With Post wires