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Army reservist, Navy contractor charged in Capitol riot

January 18, 2021 GMT

COLTS NECK, N.J. (AP) — An Army reservist from New Jersey who works as a Navy contractor with a “Secret” security clearance is facing federal charges in connection with the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, authorities said.

A criminal complaint filed by a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service accuses Timothy Hale-Cusanelli of unlawfully entering the Capitol, disrupting government business, violent entry and disorderly conduct as well as demonstrating in a Capitol building and obstructing law enforcement.

Authorities said the Colts Neck resident is an Army reservist and works as a contractor at Naval Weapons Station Earle “where he maintains a ‘Secret’ security clearance and has access to a variety of munitions,” according to the criminal complaint.

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Authorities allege that Hale-Cusanelli told an informant that he had entered the Capitol and showed him cellphone videos depicting the defendant making “harassing and derogatory statements” toward Capitol police inside and outside the building. The informant alleged that he is a white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer who posts online videos with extreme political views, and before the rally wrote “Trust the plan, it’s the final countdown.”

In a recorded conversation with the informant, authorities allege, Hale-Cusanelli admitted entering the Capitol and encouraging the mob to “advance” — giving voice and hand signal directions. He told the informant that with more men they could have taken over the entire building, federal authorities alleged.

Hale-Cusanelli also said he took a flag and flagpole that he saw another rioter throw “like a javelin” at a Capitol police officer, which the defendant described as a “murder weapon” and said he intended to destroy or dispose of it as soon as possible, authorities allege.

Court documents don’t list an attorney for Hale-Cusanelli and a message couldn’t be left at a number listed for him.