Jury convicts antisemitic January 6 defendant who claimed he didn't know Congress met in the US Capitol

  • Timothy Hale-Cusanelli faces up to 20 years in prison over his role in the January 6 insurrection.

  • Prosecutors presented evidence that Hale-Cusanelli was an antisemite who admired Hitler.

  • He had claimed he did not realize he had entered the building where Congress meets.

A jury on Friday convicted a member of the US Army Reserves on five charges related to the January 6, 2021, insurrection, rejecting the defendant's claim that he did not know he was obstructing the work of Congress.

"I did not realize that Congress met in the Capitol," Timothy Hale-Cusanelli told jurors, a remark that made jurors roll their eyes, CNN reported. "I feel like an idiot, it sounds idiotic, and it is," he added, per NBC News.

A member of the US Army Reserves, prosecutors said Hale-Cusanelli had urged rioters to "advance" into the US Capitol as part of an effort to prevent Congress from recognizing President Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election.

At his trial in Washington, DC, prosecutors played a recording of Hale-Cusanelli boasting to his former roommate that he had taken part in the insurrection, "yelling 'advance' a lot," and feared prosecution.

"I think maybe I have a murder weapon on me," he said in the recording, WUSA9 reported. "That's still in my truck. I've got to dispose of that."

Hale-Cusanelli also expressed hope for a "civil war" to cleanse society. "If we had more people, we could have cleared that whole building," he said. "It's only a matter of time."

Prosecutors also presented evidence from interviews with former acquaintances in the military who said the defendant was a white supremacist who hated Jews and other minorities. Everyday, one former colleague said, he would talk about how Jews "are ruining everything and did not belong here."

Hale-Cusanelli now faces up to 20 years in prison for obstructing an official proceeding.

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