But McFadden said the “case closed” ultimately requires arrest, in part because Hale-Cusanelli’s behavior and rhetoric have escalated into potential violence and that he poses a threat to a confidential source who helped identify him.
Hale-Cusanelli is the latest of more than 300 people accused of raping the Capitol to face pretrial detention, a step typically intended for those who see themselves as an “imminent threat” to the safety of their community. He is also the most prominent of several figures arrested for his actions on January 6 that have been linked to white supremacist ideology.
The Hale-Cusanelli case attracted national attention after prosecutors revealed a trove of white supremacist material on his phone and social media, including as Hale-Cusanelli was working as a contractor at a New Jersey-based naval weapons facility and had a secret-level security clearance. He was so open about his beliefs that he proudly sported a Hitler mustache to work with, which resulted in a reprimand from his superiors.
After his arrest, Navy investigators interviewed 44 of his colleagues, who overwhelmingly indicated that they viewed Hale-Cusanelli as a white nationalist with anti-Semitic views. Prosecutors revealed Tuesday that one of those 44 colleagues, Sgt. John Getz, has been placed on administrative leave for writing a letter to the court attesting to Hale-Cusanelli’s character even after he told investigators a different story.
Prosecutors emphasized that Hale-Cusanelli’s military service should not be a factor in his favor; in fact, they said, his conduct on Capitol Hill shows that he was willing to violate his oath to the country.
“There is no duty there. There is no honor there. There is certainly no loyalty there, ”said Assistant United States Attorney James Nelson, referring to the Army’s seven basic principles.
“This is a man who walked proudly with a Hitler mustache, defending Nazi ideology, who ignored every oath he made on behalf of the United States Army, stormed the Capitol, and then went home and talked about how excited that he was for that and wanted him to participate in a civil war. “
Hale-Cusanelli’s attorney, Jonathan Zucker, arguing for his pretrial release earlier this month, emphasized that Hale-Cusanelli had not been charged with committing any form of violence on January 6, did not join anti-government groups, and is accused of little more than entering the building and verbally harassing a Capitol police officer who threw gas. pepper against the crowd.
In court, Zucker repeated those arguments, saying that Hale-Cusanelli was willing to submit to conditions of pretrial release that would minimize even the possibility of danger to the community and the source who reported him.
“The past is the prologue here,” Zucker said. “He has never done something like this in the past. You have certainly had the opportunity. He has a gun in his hand five days a week and has never used that power. “
But McFadden said he was alarmed by Hale-Cusanelli’s increasingly violent rhetoric, especially since he appears to have discerned the identity of the confidential FBI source.
“I am concerned given all the things the defendant – all the things he has said in the past about committing acts of violence against those he feels are against him,” McFadden said, “and given the sum of evidence that the defendant has been willing to put these thoughts into action. “