A New Jersey man on trial for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion literally played dumb on the witness stand during his federal trial in Washington, DC.

WUSA television has been covering the trial of Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, and reports his defense has been arguing he essentially wasn't smart enough to know what he was doing was illegal.

Attorney Johnathan Crisp told the court that Hale-Cusanelli has only a superficial grasp of politics.

Then the Monmouth County man took the stand in his own defense.

"I know this sounds idiotic," Hale-Cusanelli said, "but I'm from New Jersey. In all my studies, I didn't know there was an actual building called the 'Capitol.' It's embarrassing."

The prosecution wasn't buying it, and alleged the defense only came up with the claims after hearing the government's case.

Hale-Cusanelli is a former security officer at the Naval Weapons Station Earle and a former Army reservist. He was fired from both positions after his arrest.

Prosecutors claim he is a white supremacist who desires a civil war in America. They showed photos in court of Hale-Cusanelli wearing his mustache like Adolf Hitler.

Jury deliberations are expected to begin today on five charges, including felony obstruction of an official proceeding.

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at eric.scott@townsquaremedia.com

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