A New Jersey Army reservist and purported Nazi sympathizer known for his “Hitler” mustache has been forced out of the military after being charged with taking part in the US Capitol riot.
Timothy Hale-Cusanelli — who has been described as an “avowed white supremacist” and Nazi sympathizer in court documents — is the first known service member to be discharged from the military over his alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 siege, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Hale-Cusanelli, who had been working part-time as an Army Reserve sergeant in human resources, was demoted to private in May before receiving an other-than-honorable discharge in June, according to the report citing personnel records and his attorney.
At the time of his January arrest, Hale-Cusanelli, of Colts Neck, was working as a civilian security contractor at Naval Weapons Station Earle in New Jersey, where he had a “secret” security clearance and access to a variety of munitions, according to an affidavit filed in US District Court in Washington, DC.
Hale-Cusanelli allegedly told other pro-Trump rioters to “advance” during the deadly siege, giving both “voice and hand signals” to others in the raging crowd.
More than 600 people across the country have been arrested by federal agents for their alleged participation in the riot, the Associated Press has reported.
An attorney for Hale-Cusanelli told the Washington Post the unceremonious end to his client’s 12-year military career — called a punitive discharge — was “improper” because it was handed down as he was jailed at the time.
Any comments made in his defense could also violate his Fifth Amendment rights in the Capitol case, attorney Jonathan Crisp said.
“This was a knee-jerk reaction to the charges,” Crisp told the newspaper.
Crisp intends to contest the Army’s decision and get Hale-Cusanelli reinstated as he remains in federal custody. Army officials, meanwhile, declined to comment on the reservist’s discharge, citing privacy laws, according to the report.
Hale-Cusanelli is one of at least six US military service members who have been charged in connection to the riot, according to the Washington Post.
Marine Corps Maj. Christopher Warnagiris, who has pleaded not guilty to assaulting cops and leading rioters into the Capitol building, also recently faced a military administrative proceeding, but its outcome is pending, according to the newspaper.
Hale-Cusanelli, who was arrested 11 days after the riot, has pleaded not guilty to seven counts, including disorderly conduct in a Capitol building and obstruction of an official proceeding. He has a pretrial conference set for later this month and his trial is expected to start in May, Crisp said.
Court papers filed in March alleged Hale-Cusanelli frequently made anti-Semitic jokes and assailed minorities in jokes and comments to colleagues.
One Navy petty officer told investigators with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service that Hale-Cusanelli once said, “Hitler should have finished the job.”
Another Navy colleague recalled Hale-Cusanelli saying Jewish people, women and black people were “on the bottom of the totem pole,” while a work supervisor said he had been reprimanded for sporting his “Hitler mustache” while on the job, according to court documents.
Crisp declined to discuss those accusations ahead of Hale-Cusanelli’s trial. His former employer at the Navy base, HBC Management, could not be reached for comment, but court documents indicate he lost access to the facility, the Washington Post reported.