Hostetter Discovers The Wages Of Insurrection: Eleven Years And Three Months In Leavenworth

Former Fontana Assistant Police Chief turned political firebrand Alan Hostetter who railed against Governor Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 precaution mandates in early and mid 2020, passionately campaigned for Donald Trump later that year by framing his reelection as president as crucial to the survival of the United States and then denounced his loss as a fraud while threatening those he believed had stolen the election with public executions, was sentenced Thursday to 11 years and three months in prison for insurrectionary activity he engaged in and led on the U.S. Capitol grounds on January 6, 2021.
Former Fontana Assistant Police Chief turned political firebrand Alan Hostetter who railed against Governor Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 precaution mandates in early and mid 2020, passionately campaigned for Donald Trump’s reelection later that year and then denounced his loss as a fraud while threatening those he believed had stolen the election with public executions, was sentenced Thursday to 11 years and three months in prison for insurrectionary activity he engaged in and led on the U.S. Capitol grounds on January 6, 2021.
After serving in the U.S. Army shortly after graduating from high school, Hostetter went to work as a sheriff’s deputy in Orange County before making a lateral transfer to the Fontana Police Department in 1989. He worked his way up the ranks, obtaining in the meantime a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree. He acceded to the rank of captain in 2007 and promoted to the department’s second-in-command shortly thereafter. In 2009, while he serving as assistant chief in Fontana, he was hired by La Habra as police chief. He was only there eight months before he took a medical retirement.
He gravitated to the practice of yoga as a means of maintaining conditioning and flexibility, progressed in the art quickly and became a teacher. He opened his own yoga studio in January 2017 ran his own yoga studio, Alpha Yoga of Orange County in Dana Point dedicated to Reiki, Yoga, sound healing, energy healing and meditation. Simultaneously, Hostetter physically transformed himself from the clean-cut infantryman/police officer he had been in his professional life while he was in his late teens, 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, and became one of the most vocal opponents of the lockdowns and other coronavirus precaution mandates emanating from Sacramento and Governor Gavin Newsom.
Along the way, he picked up allies in the cause with whom he then closely associated. One of those was Russell Taylor, the owner of Ladera Ranch-based Taylor Industries LLC. Another was Irvine Smith, the wealthy scion of the Irvine family that founded the eponymous Orange County community, together with a support network that consisted of Erik Scott Warner, Felipe Antonio “Tony” Martinez, Derek Kinnison, and Ronald Mele.
As co-founders, Hostetter and Taylor established the American Phoenix Project as a bulwark against what they characterized as Governor Newsom’s fascistic efforts to arrest the spread of COVID-19. They installed Irvine Smith as one of the project’s directors.
Hostetter constantly sought out forums where he could make public speeches, ones where there was an already-in place microphone and sound system. If no such facilities were available, he would make use of his his trademark bullhorn, inveighing against the newest set of government regulations being imposed on the people of California and its economy, sounding a dire warning that the country was on a slippery slope sliding toward totalitarian communism.
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.
The anti-COVID-19 mandate effort seemed to reach it apex when on May 21, 2020, when Hostetter was arrested along with seven others for leading a protest against the closure of the parking lot at the public beach in San Clemente when he chained himself to a barrier fence erected by government officials.
Thereafter, with the 2020 election approaching, Hostetter determined 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, participating in numerous rallies on behalf of the president’s reelection effort, often, given the gravitas and star power he represented as a former police chief and Cold War soldier, as the headliner.
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, which was posted to his American Phoenix Project video site. “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. Some people, at the highest levels, need to be made an example of, with an execution or two or three. Tyrants, and traitors, need to be executed as an example, so nobody pulls this shit again in our lifetime, and the lifetime of our children, and our grandchildren, and their children’s children.”
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 December 5, 2020, Hostetter repeated his calls for executions, stating, “As long as people like the Clintons, Brennan, Clapper, the dirty cops of the FBI, the treacherous agents of the CIA remain free, as long as they remain free, we have no justice in this system until all the traitors and coup plotters – and, yes, that includes Barack Hussein Obama himself – until these criminals and traitors are behind bars or swinging from the gallows, there is no justice in this country. And as long as there is no justice in this country, there can be no renaissance. There can be no peace.”
On December 12, 2020 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.”
On December 16, 2020, Hostetter made an Instagram post from the account of the American Phoenix Project, writing, “The time has come when good people may have to act badly…but not wrongly.”
On December 19, Hostetter spoke at a rally, telling the crowd, “January 6th is going to be one of the most important days in the history of this country. We’re gonna have an opportunity on January 6th for millions of patriots to show up in Washington, D.C., and have an impact on what happens in that joint session of Congress. That’s going to be the last opportunity that we solve this problem constitutionally before we move into the Insurrection Act. One way or another, this problem is going to be solved.” Hostetter said the plan was to “Choke that city off, fill it with patriots, and then those people behind the walls of the Senate and the House are gonna be listening to us chanting outside those walls. . . And they’re gonna realize, we have one choice. We either fix this mess and keep America America, or we become traitors, and those five million people outside the walls are gonna drag us out by our hair and tie us to a fucking lamppost. That’s their option.” He encouraged people of like mind to take off work and find any way to get to Washington, D.C. for the January 6 event, which he compared to “the Boston Tea Party.”
After 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. In his speech, Hostetter made remarks in the same vein, saying “That’s who beat Donald Trump, Dominion and all the fakes and frauds, led by these vipers behind you in the people’s house. They’re gonna hear our voice tomorrow. They’re gonna hear us loud and clear. We are at war in this country! We are at war. Our voices tomorrow are going to put the fear of God in the cowards and the traitors, the RINOs and the communists of the Democrat Party. They need to know we as a people, 100 million strong, are coming for them if they do the wrong thing!” The wrong thing, Hostetter implied, was certifying the election of Joseph Biden. “We are taking our country back!” he vowed.
On December 5, Hostetter and Taylor were present on the capitol grounds, as were Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele. Both Hostetter and Taylor wore backpacks in which they carried, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office, hatchets. It is also believed they were armed with stun batons and pepper spray. In addition, Taylor carried a knife.
Hostetter and Taylor, who were separated from Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele, together made their way toward the Capitol building, disregardful of police barriers and the use of chemical agents such as tear gas being used to prevent the crowd from advancing, approaching the police line on the west plaza area of the Lower West Terrace. They joined a human wave of protester encountering two lines of police officers, one of which was attempting to hold back rioters from advancing onto the West Plaza and another line seeking to prevent the crowd from overrunning the Inaugural Stage. When the police line in front of the West Plaza failed to hold the protesters back, Hostetter and Taylor joined those moving past the officers, while Hostetter, using his bullhorn, encouraged the crowd to continue in its forward surge. The duo pressed on with the crowd moving toward the Inaugural Stage, in the course of which Taylor was pepper sprayed. Taylor momentarily retreated to meet Hostetter, who was behind him, after which they continued forward onto the stairs immediately adjacent to the construction support for the Inaugural Stage.
Hostetter and Taylor ascended to a set of bleachers overlooking the Inaugural Stage and the sea of rioters on the West Plaza. At that spot, Hostetter recorded a video, turning the camera towards the mob, and saying, “The people have taken back their house. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a beautiful sight in my whole life. Hundreds of thousands of patriots showed up today to take back their government.”
Someone off camera could be heard announcing that protesters were going inside the building. Hostetter shut off his video equipment and Hostetter and Taylor descended from the bleachers overlooking the Inaugural Stage and walked up to the Upper West Terrace Door, where rioters were entering the building. As they reached the steps leading up to the door, police began converging on the door from south and north in an effort to prevent any other members of the crowd from going through the door. Hostetter and Taylor did not go into the building, although at one point, Warner, who was separated from them, did go into the Capitol.
Hostetter and Taylor remained on the Upper West Terrace for hours, during which time Hostetter repeatedly used his bullhorn to exhort the crowd.
Hostetter, Russell, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele were not arrested on January 6 and left Washington, D.C. shortly thereafter.
Over the next several weeks, however, the FBI by monitoring the postings on the American Phoenix Project website and other social media outlets as well as through other means, determined Hostetter, Russell, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele were present on the Capitol grounds on January 6. In late January, the FBI served search warrants it had obtained for both Hostetter’s and Russell’s Orange County residences.
On June 9, 2021, Hostetter, Russell, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele were charged with federal offenses that include conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, and unlawful entry on restricted building or grounds. Taylor is also charged with obstructing law enforcement during a civil disorder and unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon on Capitol grounds. Warner and Kinnison are also charged with tampering with documents or proceedings. They were all arrested the following day. No charges were ever filed against Irvine Smith, who was involved with the six and was in Washington, D.C. as part of the protest relating to the election in early January 2021, though his whereabouts on January 6 were not publicly disclosed.
Initially, Hostetter, Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison, and Mele appeared to be following the advice or a previous American revolutionary, Ben Franklin, who famously said, “We must all hang together, or, certainly, we will all hang separately.” All six maintained their innocence and seemed to be working through established and logical channels to use attorneys to represent them in their legal defenses, although it was known that Kinnison and Martinez in particular as well as Warner and Mele were not well fixed an financially capable of waging a protracted legal battle.
In October 2021, however, Hostetter fired his attorneys and made a motion before the court to represent himself, one that was granted by the judge on the case, Federal Judge Royce Lamberth, sitting in Washington, D.C., where the case against Hostetter and his co-defendants was to be heard, but only after Judge Lamberth made clear to Hostetter that such a move was ill-advised.
Shortly after Hostetter became his own attorney, he broke with his co-defendants, alleging in motions he authored himself that Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison, Mele and Smith were actually agents of the government working in conjunction with the FBI, Democrats, communists, 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. and the Joseph Biden-controlled Justice Department 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. His motion sought the dismissal of all of the charges against him. Judge Lamberth denied the motion. Nevertheless, Hostetter’s tactics forced the court to separate his case from that of his fellow defendants.
Earlier this year, Taylor entered a guilty plea and agreed to turn state’s evidence and testify against the others, including Hostetter. Momentarily, this heartened Hostetter, who thought he might use Taylor’s capitulation to reapply and make more convincing his assertion that the federal government was plotting against him and that his co-defendants were government informants.
Hostetter, conscious that Judge Lamberth was a Ronald Reagan appointee, a Republican and sympathetic to a public and political orientation that held law-and-order in high regard, believed he could use his status as an Army veteran and career law enforcement professional who had acceded to the posts of assistant Fontana police chief and La Habra police chief to forge a rapport with Judge Lamberth. He agreed to forego a jury trial and instead be tried in a bench trial with Lamberth serving as both judge and jury.
Taylor’s defection proved less than helpful to Hostetter during his July trial, as he testified about the preparations the group in which they were a part engaged in prior to the actions in the nation’s capital, extending to arming themselves with weapons, including axes they both carried with them in their backpacks in their sojourn to the Capitol grounds on January 6.
After the trial, Judge Lamberth found Hostetter guilty on all four felony counts lodged against him – conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of an official proceeding, including aiding and abetting others engaged in that obstruction and interference; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building and grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon.
“Even if Mr. Hostetter sincerely believed – which it appears he did – that the election was fraudulent, that President Trump was the rightful winner, and that public officials committed treason, as a former police chief he still must have known it was unlawful to vindicate that perceived injustice by engaging in mob violence to obstruct Congress,” Judge Lamberth said in pronouncing his verdicts.
In their sentencing memorandum filed November 29, 2023, United States Attorney Matthew M. Graves and assistant U.S. attorneys Anthony Mariano and Jason Manning asserted that Hostetter’s criminal activity in furtherance of the January 6 insurrection merits him 151 months in federal prison.
Graves, Mariano and Manning noted that Hostetter, as a former law enforcement officer steeped in the ways of the justice system, was disrespectful of the culture and the establishment he had functioned within throughout his professional life when he was himself being processed by the justice system.
“Hostetter’s character was on full display as he belligerently cross-examined a U.S. Capitol police captain,” the prosecutors maintained.
Hostetter committed perjury at trial, according to Graves, Mariano and Manning, when he falsely asserted at trial that he did not have the hatchet in his backpack when he was on the capitol grounds.
“The court also saw that Hostetter, when backed into a corner, was willing to lie,” according to Graves, Mariano and Manning.
“His intent was to make members of Congress afraid they might be murdered because his preferred candidate lost an election,” the prosecutors told the court. Hostetter likes to wrap himself in the American flag and take on the role of freedom fighter, but there is nothing patriotic or American about calling for violence — or threatening violence — to achieve your political aims. That is not patriotism. That is terrorism. Hostetter has shown himself to be a man eager to stoke the fires of revolution, and to assume the role of a leader of the revolution he fantasizes is coming. Hostetter talked repeatedly in advance of January 6 in the language of ‘war’ and ‘revolution.’ He discussed the ‘tyrants and traitors’ and the need for ‘executions’ of his political enemies. His delusions of grandeur – to see himself as the main player in a grand conspiracy centered on January 6, 2021 – further demonstrate the danger Hostetter poses to the community in the future.”
Many of those involved or familiar with Hostetter during his time as a law enforcement officer have been concerned for some time about his mental state. Since he went off on his crusade against Democrats and both liberal and progressive politicians in the aftermath of the society-wide precautions against the coronavirus epidemic that were being put in place, he would become, many of his friends and acquaintances perceived, unreasonably irate and profane with those who simply complied with the regulations or accepted the reasons for them as valid. The forceful nature of his personality made for many uncomfortable encounters with friends and acquaintances who had donned masks and encountered him on street or in other public settings.
Many who knew him both casually and more intimately detected in him a tinge of paranoia, his recurrent perception that others were out to get him or in some way conspiring against him. Earlier this year, he departed San Clemente and moved to Poolville, Texas.
Mark Gutglueck

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