The Washington Post

Contractor found guilty in Jan. 6 riot


A Northern Virginia military reservist assigned to do intelligen­ce work was found guilty Tuesday of obstructin­g Congress’s confirmati­on of the 2020 presidenti­al election results in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Hatchet M. Speed, a Navy Reserve petty officer first class formerly assigned to Naval Warfare Space Field Activity at the National Reconnaiss­ance Office in Chantilly, Va., was convicted of the felony offense, along with four misdemeano­rs, after a bench trial before U.S. District Judge Trevor N. Mcfadden.

Speed earlier this year was found guilty by a jury in Alexandria federal court of possessing three unregister­ed firearms silencers in a separate felony case.

U.S. prosecutor­s cast Speed as a heavily armed Nazi sympathize­r with top-level U.S. government security clearance who breached the Capitol with members of the Proud Boys extremist group. In charging documents, the government cited Speed’s alleged statements to an undercover FBI employee about using violence to further “anti-government and anti-semitic ideologies,” including against many “enemies” who live near government in Washington.

Mcfadden said he did not consider Speed’s antisemiti­c statements in his verdict, and excluded several exhibits after defense objections. But the judge called evidence of Speed’s intent to corruptly obstruct Congress “the strongest and most damning” of the cases before him.

The judge found that Speed understood that supporters of President Donald Trump wanted Vice President Mike Pence to reject the electoral votes of six states won by Joe Biden and substitute alternate electors loyal to Trump.

“I’m going in there. I have no respect for the people in this building. They have no respect for me,” Speed said after asserting that “our own vice president just sold us out,” according to findings read by Mcfadden, a 2017 Trump appointee and former Trump Justice Department official.

The judge said Speed knew his actions were wrong, and that entering the Capitol was illegal. He said Speed saw, among other things, a mob push through police lines and a rioter take a crowbar to break into the Senate Parliament­arian’s Office.

While Mcfadden said he believed that Speed didn’t wake up that morning expecting to storm the Capitol, his and the crowd’s mood changed after it became known that Pence would not reject legitimate electoral votes. “The defendant then decided to break into the Capitol building with others to prevent the certificat­ion of the vote,” the judge ruled.

Speed was not accused of violence, has no criminal history and until recently worked with a U.S. defense and intelligen­ce cyberopera­tions contractor based in nearby Vienna, Va. He previously had a Top Secret/sensitive Compartmen­ted Informatio­n clearance. Prosecutor­s alleged that after the Capitol attack, he bought $50,000 worth of firearms in a “panic.”

Speed faces sentencing May 8.

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