Former Police Chief Sentenced to 11 Years for Capitol Attack
A former California police chief who participated in the U.S. Capitol attack, spread conspiracy theories, and called for the execution of Donald Trump‘s political enemies has received a federal prison sentence of over 11 years.
Conviction and Sentencing
Alan Hostetter, the former chief of the La Habra, California, Police Department, was found guilty on charges including conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, entering or remaining on restricted grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon, and disorderly or disruptive conduct on restricted grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon. Representing himself during trial, Hostetter was sentenced to 135 months in prison by Judge Royce Lamberth, a Ronald Reagan appointee.
Spread of Conspiracy Theories
Similar to GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and several far-right members of Congress, Hostetter has played a role in spreading conspiracy theories about the January 6 attack on the Capitol. During his trial, Hostetter referenced Ramaswamy’s unsupported claim of the attack being an inside job. He also expressed his belief that the entire event was staged, highlighting the increasing acceptance of such conspiracy theories within mainstream discourse.
Role in the Attack
Hostetter, who was armed with a hatchet during the attack, founded a group called the American Phoenix Project, which protested Covid restrictions and denied the results of the 2020 election. In a video recorded after Trump’s election loss, he called for the execution of “traitors” and promoted January 6 as the day when patriots could make their stand. His speeches and actions directly contributed to the atmosphere of violence that unfolded during the attack.
Federal Prosecution and Sentencing Hearing
Federal prosecutors sought a prison term of more than 12.5 years, arguing that Hostetter conspired, gathered weapons, and traveled to Washington, D.C., with the intention of using violence to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. During the sentencing hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Mariano labeled Hostetter a “poster child for January 6 conspiracy theories,” emphasizing that his actions were terroristic, not patriotic.
Conspiracy Theory Claims
Hostetter maintained during the hearing that he believed the January 6 attack was orchestrated by the CIA, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security. He suggested the involvement of crisis actors and federal informants, claiming the event was a “false flag” operation, and even questioned the authenticity of Ashli Babbitt’s death. Hostetter’s unfounded claims lacked any supporting evidence.
Co-Defendants and Confrontation
Hostetter’s trial featured testimony from co-defendant Russell Taylor, who had reached a plea deal with the government. The four remaining co-defendants were also found guilty of felony obstruction of an official proceeding and other charges. Following the hearing, Babbitt’s mother confronted Hostetter, asserting the reality of her daughter’s death and condemning his arrogant attitude.
In total, over 1,200 individuals have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack, with more than 450 individuals receiving sentences of incarceration.
Read More of this Story at www.nbcnews.com – 2023-12-07 19:55:23
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