Navy reservist and intelligence contractor sentenced to four years in prison for storming Capitol with Proud Boys

On Monday 42-year-old Hitler-lover Hatchet Speed, a high-level US Navy reservist for more than 20 years and former military intelligence contractor, was sentenced to four years in prison for storming the Capitol on January 6, 2021, with members of the Proud Boys militia group.

Speed was not arrested on charges related to his violent actions in furtherance of Trump’s conspiracy until June 2022, well after a separate investigation into his purchase of thousand of dollars in illegal weaponry was underway. In that case, he was sentenced to three years in prison for stockpiling illegal silencers, which he planned on using in a kidnapping and assassination plot targeting Trump’s political enemies and Jewish people.

Hatchet Speed marching with Proud Boys at a December 12, 2020 "Stop the Steal" event in Washington. [Photo: U.S. Department of Justice]

Speed was arrested last summer on charges related to storming and occupying the Capitol with the Proud Boys based on evidence obtained during taped conversations between him and an undercover FBI agent, who testified at Speed’s trial and sentencing.

In those recorded conversations, the Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran revealed himself to be a fanatical anti-Semite and admirer of Adolf Hitler—whom he called “one of the best people that’s ever been on this earth.” In 75 pages detailing some of the conversations between Speed and the undercover agent, the former US Navy soldier is described venting his hatred of Jews, immigrants and communists.

In the sentencing hearing on Monday, US District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, agreed with the prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation of four years in prison. McFadden had previously found Speed guilty of five charges related to his actions on January 6, including felony obstruction of Congress. The judge also sentenced Speed to three years of parole and ordered that Speed begin his prison sentence after the separate three-year prison term imposed on him earlier this year is completed.

In eight separate meetings beginning in February 2022 with an undercover FBI agent who posed as a “like-minded individual,” Speed revealed he joined the Proud Boys in the summer of 2020, after reading Mein Kampf, and subsequently participated in multiple “Stop the Steal” rallies. He also admitted to the agent that he stormed the Capitol, which he said “was always the plan.”

Speed also admitted that after the election he had purchased illegal silencers, which he called “solvent traps,” which he planned on using to execute Jewish people. “I think kidnappings are harder,” Speed mused to the agent during one of their conversations, “but they’re more effective. What I would love to see is you take somebody out, and they simply disappear. Nobody knows what happened to them.”

“Maybe I’ll do like a mock trial,” Speed added, at which point the FBI agent said, “your solvent traps would come in handy at that point?”

“Yeah,” Speed replied, “Yeah, that’s the idea.”

Photographs presented at the sentencing hearing show Speed at Trump rallies and outside the Capitol on January 6 wearing the traditional black and yellow colors of the Proud Boys, along with a red “Make America Great Again” hat. Speed was later photographed toppling fencing and breaking into the Capitol, where he stayed for nearly 40 minutes according to prosecutors.

In text messages to military friends and conversations with the FBI, Speed admitted that he stormed the Capitol after Vice President Mike Pence “betrayed” Trump by refusing to seat his bogus electors, and that he only left the building because he was under the impression House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had agreed to delay certifying the election for 10 days in order for an “investigation” into nonexistent voter fraud to be conducted.

After participating in the coup, Speed, who maintained a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) clearance, granting him access to some of the most sensitive government programs and documents, continued to work for Novetta, a high-level military intelligence contractor.

In addition to working in northern Virginia for Novetta, which has classified contracts with the Department of Defense and US intelligence agencies such as the CIA, Speed continued to serve in the US Navy. Between his military career and lucrative contracting job, Speed had plenty of money, which prosecutors said he spent, some $40,000, on guns and illegal silencers.

That Speed was able to freely operate and ascend within the sprawling US military-intelligence complex, despite being a violent Hitler-lover and an insurrectionist, underscores the degree to which fascist attitudes and perspectives are not only tolerated but increasingly embraced by larger sections of the US military-intelligence complex and the ruling class as a whole, who are terrified of a mass socialist movement against the capitalist system.

While the charges against Speed were comparable to many others handed down by federal prosecutors, the four-year sentence, added to the previous three-year sentence, stands in contrast to the generally lenient sentences that have been handed to down to a majority of Trump’s low-level foot-soldiers.

In another significant sentence, last Friday, US District Judge Amit Mehta sentenced 49-year-old Peter Schwartz to more than 14 years in prison, the longest sentence imposed by any judge so far in the January 6 cases. However, even this lengthy sentence is roughly 10 years less than what prosecutors recommended.

In addition to being found of guilty of 10 charges last December related to his actions on January 6, including assaulting police, Schwartz has an extensive criminal history which played a major factor in his sentencing.

On January 6, prosecutors say Schwartz came to the Capitol armed with a wooden club. In text messages presented at the trial, Schwartz seemingly admitted to throwing a chair at police and starting “a riot.” Police body camera footage showed Schwartz spraying police officers with pepper spray.

It is entirely likely that by the end of the month, several more violent Trump supporters will be receiving lengthy sentences in prison. Last Friday, federal prosecutors submitted their sentencing requests following the conviction of multiple members of the Oath Keepers militia group on seditious conspiracy charges, including founder Stewart Rhodes.

As of this writing 22 people have been convicted as part of the Oath Keeper conspiracy case. In court papers filed Friday, the Department of Justice requested a 25-year prison sentence for Rhodes, 21 years for top Oath Keeper lieutenant Kelly Meggs, 18 years for former US Army soldier Jessica Watkins, 17 years for Roger Stone’s Oath Keeper bodyguard Roberto Minuta, 17 years for Arizona Oath Keeper leader Edward Vallejo, 15 years for Kenneth Harrelson, 14 years for former FBI employee and US Navy veteran Thomas Caldwell, 12 years for Joseph Hackett and 10 years for David Moerschel.

Convicted Oath Keeper Roberto Minuta with Trump political crony Roger Stone outside the Willard Hotel on January 6, 2021. [Photo: The Black Conservative Preacher]

In arguing for the long sentences, prosecutors included several quotes from US lawmakers trapped in the Capitol on January 6. One representative said, “I really thought, we’re not going to be evacuated. We’re going to die here.”

They added that the rioters “could at any point take any three members either hostage or kill any three members, and that would have prevented us from certifying the election.”

Another representative said, “It was terrifying,” because we “didn’t know if the doors could be locked. And so I was focused on planning my escape if I had to get out. That’s what I was concerned about, were we going to get out? Were we going to survive? Were they going to come after us?”

One lawmaker told prosecutors that he hadn’t “felt that way in over 15 years, since I was a Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan. I had this realization that we were trapped…”

Senator Chuck Schumer recalled a police officer, “with a submachine gun,” grabbed him by the collar and said, “Senator, you’re in danger. We have to get out of here.” Schumer said, “I didn’t know what the danger was. … I was within 20 feet of these insurrectionists,” and “had one of them had a gun, had two of them blocked off the door, who knows what would have happened.”