Feds say racist Naval contractor from NJ poses ‘substantial risk’
A U.S. Army reservist from Monmouth County, who also worked at Naval Weapons Station Earle, was known to co-workers for his anti-Semitic and racist views leading up to involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to federal prosecutors.
Thomas Hale-Cusanelli, 30, of Colts Neck, was arrested and charged just over a week after the deadly riot by supporters of then President Donald Trump.
Federal investigators have since interviewed 44 of his co-workers, including U.S. Navy service members and other contractors at the base, and concluded that Hale-Cusanelli poses a "substantial risk" of danger to the community if he is released ahead of his trial, as he has "not only embraced a dangerous, White Supremacist ideology, he has preached it on YouTube in hopes of luring more 'patriots' to his cause."
An overwhelmingly majority — 34 of his coworkers — agreed with statements that Hale-Cusanelli held extremist or radical views regarding Jewish people, minorities and women, according to a motion filed Friday by federal prosecutors in requesting pre-trial detention.
Among those on-record about Hale-Cusanelli's alarming views was a work supervisor, who then contradicted himself in a letter of support submitted a couple of weeks later in the case.
"I was appalled at how he was slandered in the press in regards to him being a 'white supremacist'. I have never known him to be this way," according to the March letter signed by Sgt. John Getz, as quoted by federal prosecutors.
However, when asked about the contradictions, Getz said to Naval investigators that he still stood by his earlier statements that he knew Hale-Cusanelli was a Nazi sympathizer and Holocaust denier and had told him to "knock it off," regarding statements made while at work.
A number of racist, offensive screenshots and memes denigrating African Americans and Jewish people were recovered from Hale-Cusanelli's cell phone and submitted with the motion objecting to his request for pre-trial, conditional release.
Hale-Cusanelli also had shaved his mustache to closely resemble Adolf Hitler on numerous occasions, as seen in multiples photos recovered under warrant.
The Army reservist has shown an intent to obstruct or destroy evidence, prosecutors continued, as he had deleted his Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts before he was arrested as well as deleted videos of his extremist YouTube series, billed as the “Based Hermes Show.”
"Having sworn a duty to uphold and protect the Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic,
Defendant literally abandoned his post to participate in an insurrection with the stated intent of obstructing the certification of the Electoral College vote," according to the motion for Hale-Cusanelli's continued pre-trial detention.
Hale-Cusanelli previously was charged with the following federal counts:
- Violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol Building
- Knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority
- Disrupting the orderly conduct of government business
- Parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol Building
- Obstructing a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder