Military Vet Convicted of Obstruction in January 6 Case

March 7, 2023

A military vet was convicted of obstruction for his role in the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol and attempt to overturn the 2020 Presidential election.

Former U.S. Naval reservist Hatchet Speed was convicted in U.S. District Court on five criminal charges, including obstructing an official proceeding—specifically, the January 6 joint session of Congress’ certification of the 2020 Electoral College vote. 

FBI recordings from more than a year after January 6 were submitted during his trial. They revealed Speed telling an undercover FBI agent that he had marched to the Capitol with members of the extremist group, the Proud Boys.

Speed further told the undercover agent about a plan to “wipe out” the Jewish population in the U.S., the recordings revealed. Using antisemitic rhetoric, he detailed his dislike for government. That’s according to prosecutors who argued his hateful ideology was the basis for his decision to join the attack on the Capitol. 

Prosecutors say Speed expressed an admiration for Adolph Hitler and told the undercover agent that he believed that Jews controlled Biden—which helped to explain why he was “deeply worried about a Biden presidency.”

Speed was arrested in June 2022 on January 6-related misdemeanor charges, but a grand jury later indicted him on felony obstruction. 

On January 6, 2021 Speed drove from his home in Vienna, Virginia to Washington where he attended then-President Trump’s “stop the steal” rally. After Trump told the crowd, “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Speed joined the mob that stormed the Capitol as Congress attempted to certify the election results. 

He entered the government building around 3pm and remained inside for some 40 minutes. After leaving, he texted another rioter that he had “backed out” because he’d heard that Congress’ “vote had been postponed.”

“In other words,” prosecutors wrote, “because Speed thought he succeeded in obstructing the certification, he left the U.S. Capitol Building.”

U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden is scheduled to sentence Speed on May 8.

Proud Boys chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio and four other members of the extremist group are currently on trial after pleading not guilty to charges of seditious conspiracy related to their actions surrounding January 6.

Four people died during the violence that ensued on January 6, and five police officers died afterwards. Another 140 or so officers were injured and the Capitol sustained millions of dollars in damage.

So far, prosecutors have brought criminal charges against more than 1,000 people related to January 6. 

Photo credit: Tyler Merbler

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