McFadden found the suggestion that he did not know where Congress was meeting to be implausible. Prosecutors had emphasized this during the trial, showing a series of evidence where Hale-Cuzanelli had explained the botched presidential election process or explained historical events to friends.
Prosecutors lamented that his testimony on the stand was false and merely “self-serving.”
According to NBC, McFadden said the testimony amounted to a “rich lie.”
On Monday, Hale-Cuzanelli failed to convince Judge McFadden that she should be acquitted or face a completely new trial. A Trump-appointed judge denied the request on several grounds. Chief among his claims of alleged white supremacy was his argument that he could not delay the certification on January 6 because the ceremony was no longer taking place when he was in the Capitol.
“This argument is at best self-defeating,” McFadden wrote in the Sept. 19 order.
Hale-Cusanelli also argued that a new trial was warranted because he was unfairly prejudiced when prosecutors quoted some of his own “excessively racist, hateful or anti-Semitic” views to jurors.
McFadden effectively barred prosecutors from including a large number of Hale-Cuzanelli’s overtly racist and extremist remarks, suggesting that most of them might otherwise sway jurors or prevent them from focusing primarily on the charges the defendant actually faced.
In denying a motion for a new trial, the judge said federal prosecutors had only presented evidence that connected his overtly racist comments to less overt ones because those remarks still showed Hale-Cuzanelli’s motivation to prevent Congress from counting the certified voter rolls “either because he wanted a civil war or thought [Joe Biden] was a puppet for Jewish interests.
At a recent rally in Pennsylvania, former President Donald Trump gave Hale-Cusanelli’s adopted aunt, Cynthia Hughes, time to talk about her Hitler-mustachioed friend.
“He was dressed in a suit and tie and his favorite hat. Tim wanted to take part in what he believed to be a historic event. Instead, he witnessed a horror show,” Hughes told the crowd of Trump supporters.
Investigators interviewed 34 of Hale-Cusanelli’s colleagues and found that many said he openly professed his extreme views. They said others were afraid of him.
Hughes has been a prominent fundraiser for the 9/6 defendants and has drawn favors from Trump and other extremists such as Steve Bannon, who has called him a “great patriot” for helping “political prisoners” on 6 January. She is the founder of the non-profit Patriot Freedom Project.
Meanwhile, not far from where Hale-Cuzanelli was sentenced before U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, Steven Ayres, another defendant on Jan. 6, learned his fate in the courtroom of Senior U.S. District Judge John Bates.
Ayres, an Ohio resident, initially faced four felony charges related to the attack on the Capitol, including obstructing official proceedings, trespassing and two counts of disorderly conduct.
He was originally charged along with Matthew Pern of Pennsylvania. Perna died by suicide on February 25. In an obituary written by Perna’s family, they said he died “of a broken heart” and that “the justice system killed his spirit and zest for life.”
Before Ayres finally struck a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly conduct, he faced 22 years on all four charges.
He cooperated with the Jan. 6 committee and offered testimony during a public hearing this summer.
“I hung on every word [Trump] said. Everything he posted, I followed,” Ayres testified.
With no prior criminal convictions and with his guilty pleas and good behavior during the 18 months he spent on bail, Judge Bates imposed a light sentence.
Ayres was sentenced to 24 months of probation and will have to perform 100 hours of community service. Prosecutors had sought a 60-day prison sentence on one count of disorderly conduct. While Judge Bates on Thursday sought to acknowledge the “shocking attack” of Jan. 6 and its long-term consequences and impact, he was not convinced that Ayres should be sentenced to 60 days in jail.
Warren, Ohio, was inside the Capitol for 10 minutes on Jan. 6 and only walked the halls of the Capitol and did not enter “more sensitive areas,” Bates said Thursday. He did not destroy the property when he entered and had no direct role in causing the trespass.
Calling him an “active participant in the attack on the Capitol,” the senior judge emphasized that a mob only forms when “a large number of people participate.”
“That’s what created the crowd we saw on January 6,” he said. “This is a case of serious misconduct that requires a serious response from the United States.”
When given a chance to speak for himself Thursday before the sentencing, Ayres became emotional.
“I want to apologize to you, the court and the American people,” he said, audibly crying over the remote court appearance. “I did not go there that day with the intention of causing violence.”
Ayres said he had been “indoctrinated” by the right-wing rhetoric and misinformation flowing from platforms like Facebook.
Before the Capitol riot, Ayres posted statements on social media accusing former Vice President Mike Pence, Supreme Court Justice John Roberts and other officials of treason for failing to certify former President Donald Trump’s fraudulent voters.
When he left his Ohio home for Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5, prosecutors say he called on Trump supporters online to go to the Stop the Steal rally. His rhetoric was often heated or laced with language about the necessity of civil war if Trump had not emerged victorious.
Indeed, Trump lost the election to current President Joe Biden, and by the time of the uprising, the former president had lost dozens of fraud lawsuits quite publicly.
“It’s time for us to stand up to tyranny!” Ayres wrote in one post before the attack.
“Yes [deep state] rob president trump!!! Civil war will begin!” he said in another, court records show. [punctuation original]
A day after the riot, Ayres posted a video of Pern and another unidentified person on YouTube. Ayres called the January 6 attack “staged” in the video and suggested that the police were provoked and led by members of the anti-fascist or “antifa” movement.
It repeated the disinformation spread by the former president and his supporters in Congress. The FBI determined last year that there was no evidence that “antifa” invaded the Capitol grounds or posed as supporters of the former president.
When Ayres testified before the committee on Jan. 6, prosecutors said they didn’t think he was sufficiently remorseful and described his response to committee Vice Chair Lisa Cheney as “lukewarm” when she asked him whether he believed the 2020 2018 elections are still stolen.
On Thursday, Ayres tearfully told a judge that his decisions on Jan. 6 and those that led to them destroyed his life. He lost a good friend and lost his job. He said he embarrassed his family and himself.
“I’m over the division in the country,” Ayres said. “I wake up every day and pray for the officers that are there [still] fighting January 6.”
In court, he apologized to law enforcement, their families and those who lost someone on January 6.
Five people died in the attack; hundreds were seriously injured.
“I wish everyone in this country could stop and see where this is going. This country is supposed to be the light of the world, the beacon of hope, and they’re seeing it on TV … it confuses me,” he said.
Ayres’ wife also spoke on his behalf, telling the judge that their children never had to feel the burden of their father’s Jan. 6 decisions because he had spent all his time since his arrest on good behavior and working to reform himself.
If Aires were put in prison now, their children would feel the burden, she said.
“When we got married, we promised never to subject our children to a broken home,” she said through tears. “If my husband goes to jail, that will break that promise.”
She also apologized on behalf of her husband.
When the other charges against him were dismissed, Judge Bates wished Ayres the best of luck and told him to be “careful and comply” with the terms of his 24-month probation sentence. But before firing Ayres, the judge offered one final thought: He agreed with him — what Ayres did was “disgraceful, disgraceful and a stain” on our nation’s democratic institutions.