The sentencing of former Assistant Fontana Police Chief Alan Hostetter has been postponed, pending the outcome of the rescheduled trial of four of his co-defendants.
Following a bench trial by Federal Judge Royce Lamberth, Hostetter was convicted on July 13 of conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of, and aiding and abetting in the obstruction of, an official proceeding; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; and disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon, all of which related to his actions during the January 6, 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol.
According to evidence presented by the U.S. Attorney’s Office at trial, in the weeks leading up to the January 6th Insurrection, Hostetter coordinated with Russell Taylor, Erik Scott Warner, Ronald Mele, Felipe Antonio Martinez and Derek Kinnison to arrange travel from California to Washington, D.C. and attend the Stop the Steal rally and protest as part of a conspiracy to prevent Congress’ certification of the Electoral College outcome in the 2022 presidential election.
Taylor pleaded guilty in April to a conspiracy charge and then testified as a government witness against Hostetter at his trial before Judge Lamberth.
Prior to Taylor’s flip, Hostetter made a radical break with his co-defendants, with whom he had previously indulged in scathing attacks on Democrats and those they perceived as President Donald Trump’s political opposition throughout the 2020 electoral season. In October 2021, after firing all of his attorneys and taking on the burden of acting as his own lawyer, Hostetter filed a motion, which Lamberth ultimately denied, to dismiss all of the charges against him. That motion asserted Hostetter was the target of a “classic FBI counterintelligence program operation” in which Taylor, with whom he had founded the American Phoenix Project to resist masking mandates and the administration of the COVID vaccine, was a prime actor along with Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele, all of whom are government informants working in conjunction with Democrats, liberals, the Illuminati, “secret societies” such as the Freemasons and the Skull and Bones fraternity at Yale University and religious “cults” such as Scientologists and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the “swamp” of “Deep State” actors in Washington, D.C, the Joseph Biden-controlled Justice Department and the FBI to discredit him. The motive for going after him, Hostetter claimed in the motion to the court, was his having taken a stand in opposition to “COVID-19 lockdowns and stay-at-home orders” instituted during the coronavirus pandemic and his effectiveness in leading that movement.
Prior to his time as an anti-government activist, Hostetter spent nearly three years after he graduated from high school in the U.S. Army with the 1st Cavalry Division stateside and the 3rd Infantry Division in Aschaffenburg, West Germany. From 1986 until 1989, he was a deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and from 1989, after he was hired by the Fontana Police Department, until 2009, he progressed up the ranks from patrolman to SWAT team member to narcotics unit detective to traffic unit commander to internal affairs unit investigator and then into the administration division, while holding the ranks of police corporal, detective, sergeant, lieutenant, chief of the Fontana School District Police Department, captain as of April 2007 and then assistant chief in December 2007.
He made simultaneous academic advancement, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a Master of Public Administration degree from California State University, San Bernardino. He was a member of Class 38 of the California Police Officers Standards and Training Command College; and Class 105 of the Sherman Block Supervisory and Leadership Institute.
Despite his subsequent uncharitable characterization of the FBI, Hostetter was a graduate of the 212th session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy at Quantico, Virginia.
In December 2009, Hostetter was selected from among a field of 20 candidates for the position of La Habra police chief.
Hostetter began as the head of that Orange County city’s police department in January 2010, but remained in place only until May of that year, going out on leave and then taking a disability retirement officially effective as of August 26, 2010. He was 46 years old. He moved to San Clemente.
Because of a back injury, he took up yoga to maintain his physical conditioning in retirement. He excelled within the discipline, rapidly transitioning from a novice to a dedicated practitioner to a teacher. In January 2017, he created Alpha Yoga of Orange County, which catered mostly to senior citizens and the wives of wealthy businessmen in San Clemente, Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano. He advocated a form of yoga focused on the healing and relaxing potential of hypnotic sound, the creation of “sound baths” using American Indian flutes, Tibetan bowls and Aboriginal didgeridoos to serve as the atmosphere in which to enhance the benefits of stretches and poses known as asanas and vynyasas accompanied by breathing exercises known as pranayama to deliver all of the benefits of the yoga experience. Hostetter physically transformed himself from the clean-cut military/police officer model he had typified in his 20s, 30s and early 40s to a bearded and long-haired guru hippy type, one who spoke about eliminating everything other than “good vibes” from his existence and seeking out spiritual fulfillment, getting in touch with his own soul and pursuing universal cosmic realizations.
With the advent of the COVID-19 crisis, Hostetter of a sudden abandoned yoga as a way of life, having convinced himself that his true calling was to ensure that Donald Trump, in his words “the greatest president this country ever had,” was reelected. He approached that goal with a single-minded determination.
Along the way, he picked up as allies in that cause Taylor, the owner of Ladera Ranch-based Taylor Industries LLC, as well as Irvine Smith, the wealthy scion of the Irvine family that founded the eponymous Orange County community, along with Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele.
At the time, it appeared that it was Hostetter who was in the role of leader and that it was the others who were taking inspiration from him rather the other way around. To be sure, Taylor and Smith lent crucial financial assistance to the cause as well as spiritual aid and comfort, just as Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele encouraged him in his efforts. Nevertheless, it was Hostetter, the former police chief and Cold War soldier who had the star power and was the headline speaker at multiple public events and rallies. As a speechmaker, Hostetter went beyond being merely inspirational to outright incendiary. He likened Governor Gavin Newsom mandating that the state’s residents wear face masks when out in public and the discontinuation of public meetings and holding remote/electronic confabulations in their stead and the government’s encouragement of the development of a coronavirus vaccine to Nazis loading Jews into cattle cars for delivery to the slaughterhouses at Auschwitz and Buchenwald.
As the 2020 election campaign headed toward the clubhouse turn, even those closest to Hostetter were concerned he was becoming unhinged, as he insisted that Donald Trump was a historic figure on par with or greater than the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln and that the 45th President represented the last hope for humanity, such that his reelection as president was imperative for the United States to survive as a nation and humans to survive as a species.
Early on election day, when the initial results seemed to presage a Trump victory, Hostetter was ecstatic, but as the returns from inner cities in the swing states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan began trending in favor of Joseph Biden, Hostetter’s mood shifted. When President Trump on November 4, 2020, tweeted, “Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE,” Hostetter, like thousands of others went on what has since been described as “war footing,” insisting that the election was being stolen.
Hostetter took part in the million-man Make America Great Again March in the nation’s capital that took place 11 days after the election and was aimed at convincing government officials that a recount of the presidential election votes needed to be carried out. On November 12, 2020, during his drive from California to the march in Washington, D.C. to support the president, Hostetter videoed himself as he was driving through Arkansas, noting that he was on schedule to arrive in Virginia that evening.
“It was so brazen, what they did to us, the theft of this election,” he said on the video. “They did this to us in broad daylight. They stole this election while everybody was watching, and they were flipping us the middle finger as they did it. The Deep State has been assuming power in this country and slowly taking everything over in this country. There’s been no honest vote probably in decades, if not longer. They think they’re firmly in control and they’re about to be proven otherwise.”
The million-man Make America Great Again March did not result in reversing the presidential election outcome. Thereafter, President Trump tweeted, “Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” Both Hostetter and Taylor saw that posting as a call to action. According to evidence presented at Hostetter’s trial, in a text exchange shortly thereafter, they resolved to travel to the Capitol in order to “intimidate Congress.”
On November 27, 2020, Hostetter posted a video to his American Phoenix Project video site, proclaiming, “People at the highest levels need to be made an example of, with an execution or two or three.”
On December 12, at a Stop the Steal rally in Huntington Beach, Hostetter told a mesmerized crowd, “There must, absolutely must, be a reckoning. There must be justice. President Trump must be inaugurated on January 20th. And he must be allowed to finish this historic job of cleaning out the corruption in the cesspool known as Washington, D.C. The enemies and traitors of America both foreign and domestic must be held accountable. And they will. There must be long prison terms, while execution is the just punishment for the ringleaders of this coup.”
Having arrived in Washington, D.C. in early January, 2021, Hostetter and Taylor participated in the organization of a rally outside the Supreme Court on January 5 in which Roger Stone, a key political adviser to Donald Trump, delivered a speech, the upshot of which was that the election in November had been stolen and the Democrats and traitors were brainwashing the public into believing the election results to be confirmed by Congress the following day were on the up-and-up.
Hostetter, Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele were to have been tried together, but doing so was made problematic by the implication of the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, Hostetter’s role as his own attorney in which he skirted Fifth Amendment issues and the interplay between the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and the Sixth Amendment right to examine all witnesses against a defendant. Given that Hostetter ultimately claimed that his one-time co-defendants Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele are actually government agents who were working to entrap him, Judge Lamberth severed his case from that of Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele, who likewise stood accused of conspiring to disrupt the certification of the election on January 6. Because they had Fifth Amendment rights not to incriminate themselves, their testimony against Hostetter could not be compelled and his right to cross examine anyone who would testify against him would have required that they be subject to such cross examination if their testimony had been used.
According to evidence presented at Hostetter’s trial by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Hostetter, Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele styled themselves as the “California Patriots-DC Brigade” while using Telegram, an encrypted messaging platform, to communicate. The government managed to decipher those messages, which included references to the weaponry the members of the group brought with them to Washington, D.C. and the bulletproof vests and protective attire they outfitted themselves with.
The prosecution marshaled evidence that on the morning of January 6, 2021, Hostetter, Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele met in a group in downtown Washington to walk to the Ellipse for the rally. Hostetter carried a backpack containing a hatchet, according to the government. After the rally, Hostetter and his co-defendants walked toward the Capitol building. At approximately 2:30 p.m., Hostetter joined other rioters on the lower West Terrace of the Capitol who were pushing through a line of law enforcement officers trying to hold them back. Hostetter and a co-defendant then pushed through the law enforcement line and moved through restricted areas of the grounds toward the upper West Terrace. Once on the upper West Terrace, Hostetter stated, “The people have taken back their house. Hundreds of thousands of patriots showed up today to take back their government!” Hostetter posted to the internet a photo of himself taken from the upper West Terrace, accompanied by text stating, “This was the shot heard round the world!…the 2021 version of 1776. That war lasted 8 years. We are just getting started.”
At Hostetter’s trial, Taylor testified that he came onto the Capitol grounds carrying a hatchet as well as a knife and a stun baton in the company of Hostetter, who, he testified was in possession of a hatchet. He and Hostetter, Taylor testified, were involved in what he freely admitted was a conspiracy to prevent Congress from certifying the election. Hostetter, with the skill of a jailhouse lawyer at best, sought to convince Judge Lamberth that his former associate in the American Phoenix Project was actually a participant in the federal government’s conspiracy to railroad him. Hostetter, contradicting Taylor, maintained that he did not have possession of the hatchet, which had been referenced during the communications among Hostetter, Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele while they were making their preparations to attend the January 5 and 6, 2021 protests relating to the election certification, because it had been stolen from his vehicle. The U.S. Attorney’s Office maintained that the hatchet was in Hostetter’s possession when he was among the mob that broke the police lines on the Capitol grounds.
Judge Lamberth was faced with multiple paradoxes and contradictions arising out of Hostetter’s attempt to defend himself against the charges lodged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Hostetter stated he believed that his allies in the fight against government-imposed COVID-19 precautions – Irvine Smith, who was not prosecuted, and Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison, Mele – were being directed by the government to insinuate themselves into his orbit in order to entrap him.
“The government attempted to concoct, direct and supervise the enterprise from start to finish,” according Hostetter. Despite what he said was “their incessant efforts to direct defendant into criminal activity,” Hostetter said, he did not take the bait and had “never engaged in criminal activity.”
Hostetter’s claim was that he was being politically persecuted, the justice system has been weaponized against Donald Trump and his supporters, that there is a two-tier system of justice in which the Democrats, communists and traitors have an advantage over patriots such as himself and that the prosecution falsely claimed that the peaceful demonstration he took part in on January 6, 2021 was a violent insurrection.
Despite his suggestion that his five co-defendants were acting as government provocateurs, he insisted that what he, they and others who were in attendance on the Capitol grounds were engaged in was a show of protest that was no more than “basically the equivalent of a three-hour hissy fit.” In his closing argument, Hostetter offered a narrative in which Donald Trump won the 2020 election, that victory was stolen by traitors, Democrats and communists hellbent on destroying the country and those bad actors had then utilized corrupt FBI agents to engineer a “federal setup” that used “crisis actors wearing costumes” who were the only ones who actually engaged in illegal activity or violence in order to make a false criminal case against those who understood what was truly happening and were opposed to it, such as himself. The FBI had handed the ball off to the federal prosecutors who then, cynically and knowingly, misrepresented him as being “a caricature of some radical terrorist.”
Judge Lamberth did not buy what Hostetter was selling, entering his own directed verdict of guilty on all four charges. He set October 13 as Hostetter’s sentencing date, one day after Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele were set to begin trial on October 12. Judge Lamberth denied the U.S. Attorney’s motion to revoke Hostetter’s conditional release from custody so that he would be incarcerated until his time of sentencing. On October 6, after the October 12 trial date for Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele was continued, Judge Lamberth ordered that Hostetter’s October 13 sentencing date be vacated and be reset to a date after the trial of his codefendants has been concluded.
Conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding is punishable by a maximum 20 years in prison. Aiding and abetting in the obstruction of an official proceeding is punishable by a maximum 20 years in prison. The maximum punishment for entering and remaining in a restricted federal building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon is 10 years in prison. The maximum sentence for disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted federal building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon is 10 years in prison.
The sentencing of former Assistant Fontana Police Chief Alan Hostetter has been postponed, pending the outcome of the rescheduled trial of four of his co-defendants.