Hostetter’s Supporters Hope Fischer Insurrection Case Decision Might Shorten His Sentence

His friends and supporters are hopeful that Former Fontana Assistant Police Chief Alan Hostetter, who is serving an 11-year federal sentence as a result of his insurrectionist activity on the U.S. Capitol grounds on January 6, 2021 in the failed attempt to prevent Congress’s certification of the November 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, will be able to obtain a sentence reduction based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 28 decision calling into question the way in which federal prosecutors were applying a 2002 law prohibiting interference with or obstruction of governmental processes.
The law in question, 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2), which makes it a crime to “otherwise obstruct, influence, or impede any official proceeding,” was used to convict Joseph Fischer of Pennsylvania who had participated in the demonstrations on January 6, 2021 that had raged out of control, including multiple incidents of violence as well as a number of protesters breaching the locked Capitol Building and flooding inside, which resulted in the interruption of the Electoral College ballot certification process. According to prosecutors and the presentation of evidence at the trial in which Fischer was convicted, he trespassed into the Capitol and was involved in a physical confrontation with law enforcement.
Ultimately a grand jury returned a seven-count superseding indictment against Fischer, which included charges that he had forcibly assaulted a federal officer, entered and remained in a restricted building, and engaged in disorderly and disruptive conduct in the Capitol, along with other counts, one of which was a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2), an outgrowth of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which was passed in reaction to the Enron Scandal.
The Enron Scandal involved allegations of evidence tampering engaged in by the perpetrators of the massive fraud relating to accounting by the Enron Corporation. Fischer’s legal team arguing on behalf of him and two other January 6 defendants, Edward Lang, and Garret Miller, asserted that there was no evidence to suggest, and that the defendants had not engaged in, evidence tampering. In March 2022, District Judge Carl J. Nichols dismissed obstruction charges against the three defendants, including Fischer, ruling prosecutors had improperly separated the portion of the law forbidding obstruction of an official proceeding from its intrinsic evidence-tampering provision regarding actions involving a “document, record, or other object”. Nichols’ ruling was not binding on other judges, though several other defendants attempted to make similar arguments that Sarbanes–Oxley does not apply to them before other judges, most of which did not work. Federal prosecutors appealed Nichols’ rulings in the three cases, including that of Fischer, to the D.C. Court of Appeals, which in April 2023 reversed Nichols in a 2–1 ruling, finding that Sarbanes-Oxley was broad enough to cover the conduct of Fischer and the other two defendants. It held that the statute applied to “all forms of corrupt obstruction of an official proceeding.” It was the D.C. Court of Appeals ruling that was the subject of the Supreme Court Review, resulting in the June 28 6-to-3 decision holding that Judge Nichols’ determination should be reinstated and that unless there was a direct and unequivocal element of document or record tampering, defendants such as Fischer and, by extension, all January 6 defendants, including Hostetter, could not be pursued under Sarbanes-Oxley and/or 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2).
There are parallels between Fischer and Hostetter. Like Hostetter, Fischer was a former law enforcement officer, who had become convinced that the reelection of Donald Trump was critical to the survival of the United States. Both attended the Stop the Steal rally at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. and at various times encouraged the rioters during the Capitol attack and in other forums and places. Fischer, for example, was heard on January 6 saying he wanted to go “to war” and take “democratic Congress to the gallows.” In some of his rhetorical flourishes, Hostetter had said that it was time for the traitors who had stolen the election from Donald Trump, including Biden, “to swing from a fucking lamppost” and “Some people, at the highest levels, need to be… executed.”
While one of those within his circle of seven associates from Southern California who had accompanied Hostetter to Washington, D.C. in late December 2020/early January 2021 did go into the Capitol after it was breached, Hostetter remained outside. Fischer did go into the building. Fischer was charged with seven counts, those being civil disorder; assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers and aiding and abetting resistance; obstruction of an official proceeding; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a capitol building; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol Building.
Hostetter was charged with four counts: conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting resistance; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon.
Despite the parallels in their cases, there are substantial dissimilarities between them.
Last year, between July 7 and July 13, Hostetter stood trial before Judge Royce Lamberth in a proceeding in which he represented himself and waived his right to a jury trial, allowing Lamberth to both ascertain his guilt or innocence on the charges against him and pronounce sentence. Lamberth found him guilty on all four counts and sentenced him to prison for 11 years.
On February 2, Fischer pleaded guilty to all seven charges against him. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison in May.
One of the factors in the discrepancy between the eleven-year sentence Hostetter netted and the less than two years Fischer is to serve in prison was the consideration that Hostetter, relatively early on dispensed with his legal counsel and chose to represent himself, while Fischer had competent legal counsel throughout his ordeal. A second factor was that prior to sentencing, Fischer expressed remorse and contrition, acknowledging that his behavior had been “egregious,” and he offered an apology to the police officers he assaulted specifically and the people of the District of Columbia in general. Hostetter, conversely, went down swinging, insisting right up until the time that he was being sentenced by Lamberth that he had broken no law and that he was the victim of an elaborate violation of the law on the part of others. A third factor was that Fischer threw in the towel before going to trial, while Hostetter insisted on having his day – or actually week – in court, during which he acted from start to finish as his own attorney. A fourth factor is that despite his temporary flight into the chaotic atmosphere of the protests over the 2020 election, Fischer remains relatively psychologically intact. Hostetter, on the other hand, even those closest to him and those who were formerly his primary associates, comes across as consumed with mental illness.
Hostetter once seemed as straight-laced as they come. After graduating from high school in 1982, Hostetter joined the Army, training as an infantryman. He was stationed at Fort Hood in Texas with the 1st Cavalry Division and did a tour of duty with the 3rd Infantry Division in Aschaffenburg, West Germany. In 1986, after leaving the Army, he was hired by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. In 1989, he transferred to the Fontana Police Department.
As a patrol officer in Fontana, he seemed to particularly relish dealing harshly with the marijuana users his job put him into contact with on an almost daily basis. Referring to them as “potheads,” who were easily spotted and outsmarted, he rung up an impressive number of arrests in this way.
As he was working his way up from the rank of patrol officer in Fontana, he married Wendy Hostetter, a police dispatcher who eventually became the police department’s dispatch and communications division supervisor. They had a son, Corey, who would eventually follow in his father’s footsteps to become a police officer.
In 1993, Alan Hostetter promoted to police corporal, an advancement paralleled by academic achievement. While employed with the department, through correspondence courses he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He made sergeant in 1996, by which point he was working toward a Master of Public Administration degree from California State University, San Bernardino. In 2001, he became a lieutenant and in 2006 and early 2007 was loaned out to the Fontana School District Police Department to serve as that agency’s police chief. He returned to the Fontana Police Department as a captain in April 2007 and became assistant chief in December 2007.
Hostetter had a host of impressive assignments and achievements with the Fontana Police Department. Beyond working in the patrol division, he was a member of the special weapons and tactics team, the narcotics unit, detective bureau, internal affairs unit, and administration division. He was a graduate of the 212th session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy at Quantico, Virginia; Class 38 of the California Police Officers Standards and Training Command College; and Class 105 of the Sherman Block Supervisory and Leadership Institute.
Once thought to be a shoo-in to succeed then-Police Chief Rod Jones upon his eventual retirement, the ambitious Hostetter in the fall of 2009 applied for the soon-to-open police chief’s position in the Orange County city of La Habra, a city of 60,000, which at that time was less than a third of the size of then-190,000 population Fontana. In December 2009, Hostetter, having outdistanced the other 19 candidates for the job, was named La Habra police chief. He began in La Habra in January 2010, but suffered a back injury, remaining 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. At 46 years old, he moved to San Clemente. He began as an instructor/facilitator with the University of Phoenix, teaching undergraduate courses in ethics in criminal justice and graduate courses in budgeting, while awaiting the approval of his disability pension, then pegged at $132,907.32 annually, which would kick in the following year. In October of 2011, he founded a company, Public Sector Solutions, which provided investigative services to support private business with workplace investigations. He remained as an instructor with the University of Phoenix until 2013.
Hostetter’s back injury had forced him to discontinue the physical fitness regimen he had engaged in as soldier and police officer. As an alternate way of remaining in good condition, he took up yoga and found it useful in his maintaining flexibility, suppleness and muscle tone. He rapidly went from being a novice to a dedicated practitioner to a teacher, creating, in January 2017, 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. The type of yoga he advocated was particularly focused on the healing and relaxing potential of hypnotic sound, involving an atmosphere that used American Indian flutes, Tibetan bowls and Aboriginal didgeridoos to create a “sound bath” to accompany the exercises, stretches and poses he led, known as asanas and vynyasas accompanied by breathing exercises known as pranayama.
To those who knew him in his previous life as a police officer, an existence in which force and aggression were routine, Hostetter’s transformation was profound, as he talked about eliminating everything other than “good vibes” and seeking out spiritual fulfillment, getting in touch with his own soul and how yoga could make such cosmic realizations for others possible. Hostetter had made a remarkable physical transformation as well, having gone 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. His yoga studio from time to time was filled with the aroma of burning sage and other herbs, intended to create a “relaxing” environment.
Then, in a very short period of time, shortly after the advent of the COVID-19 crisis, Hostetter made an abrupt retransformation, forsaking his newfound identity as a yogi to take on the persona of a self-styled conservative political activist. In April 2020, he abruptly closed down Alpha Yoga of Orange County.
Having the advantage of his annual disability pension, which by that point had grown to $160,495.09, Hostetter diverting practically all of his time and energy into the American Phoenix Project, a nonprofit organization he co-founded with Russell Taylor, the American Phoenix Project.
The American Phoenix Project was engaging in “a fight back against tyranny,” which he said, had as its elements Democrats across the country but particularly those in California and Washington, D.C., who were using the COVID crisis as a means of not only killing Americans and wreaking havoc on the American economy, but destroying American primacy in the world by working against the reelection of Donald Trump, who was, Hostetter solemnly stated, “The greatest president this country ever had.”
Hostetter railed against the “so many corrupt institutions at the local level, state level and the national level” which were utilizing lockdowns to destroy businesses and instill in the American public compliance with governmental fiats which were part of vast international conspiracy.
The American Phoenix Project drew to it a number of participants and supporters, which included Irvine Smith, the scion of the wealthy family that had founded Irvine, together with Erik Scott Warner, Felipe Antonio “Tony” Martinez, Derek Kinnison and Ronald Mele.
Smith bankrolled much of the American Phoenix Project’s activities, which Hostetter, as the organization’s executive director, was masterminding.
Virtually overnight Hostetter had become the central figure in the resistance to the State of California’s program to limited the spread of the coronavirus. The American Phoenix Projects first major
action, which proved ultimately unsuccessful, was to file a lawsuit against California Governor Gavin Newsom to take down all ‘shelter-in-place’ orders currently in place.”
Despite the lawsuit’s failure, Hostetter’s efforts drew to him a sizable contingent of residents either opposed to the government lockdowns from the start or who began to chaff under those restrictions as they continued week after week and month after month.
Hostetter manifested as the messiah of resistance to the Deep State, discovering a talent for public speaking he had previously not been known to possess. He was soon giving speeches to multitudes, with hundreds of faithful hanging on his every word.
Utilizing money provided by Smith, he and Taylor organized and Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele helped coordinate protests against mandates that business be shuttered and that citizens wear masks out in public. Hostetter led rallies in Orange County against coronavirus restrictions in general throughout the late spring and summer of 2000, protesting beach closures, defying the civil authorities and daring the local police sent to break up the crowds to arrest him and his fellow protesters.
Of note, Robert Ramsey, with whom Hostetter had served the entirety of his career at the Fontana Police Department and who eventually acceded to the police chief position there in 2016 when Police Chief Rod Jones retired, after a little more than two years in the chief’s position in 2018 had himself retired to San Clemente. Initially, Ramsey was seen at the rallies Hostetter was hosting and leading, and he too went on record against the government’s action in seeking to enslave its citizens by increments through the lockdown justifications. But when Hostetter became too passionate in his opposition, including one occasion when he got himself arrested by chaining himself to a fence that had been erected to prevent public access to the San Clemente Beach, Ramsey began to disassociate himself with Hostetter, at least publicly.
Those who knew Hostetter primarily as a yoga instructor whose focus on achieving inner peace and oneness with the universe said it was if he had become unhinged virtually overnight, having been sent off the deep end by the government precautions against the spread of COVID-19. Former yoga students related tales of him growing intemperate and profane, cursing when discussing stay-at-home orders or business-closure mandates. One related how he had been terrified during a chance encounter with Hostetter on the street in San Clemente. In compliance with the governor’s mandate, the man said, he had been wearing a mask, which unfortunately, did not obscure his identity from the eagle-eyed Hostetter. At that point, the man said, Hostetter viciously upbraided him for cowardly complying with the requirement that masks be worn in public.
Others have consistently depicted Hostetter as reacting virulently, during any discussion he was involved in relating to the lockdown and governmental mandates at that time, to any suggestion that the COVID-19 pandemic represented a legitimate health crisis that was best managed with precautions to limit the spread of the virus and protect those elements of the population most vulnerable to it. The government’s effort to reduce the strain on the healthcare facilities and institutions – hospitals and both acute care and recovery/long term care homes – where those most critically impacted by the disease were to be treated, was an out-and-out ruse to compromise constitutional rights and liberty, he said. Hostetter would dismiss with anger and derision any expression of trust in California’s government or faith that Governor Gavin Newsom was seeking to protect the state’s citizens, insisting his interlocutor had been brainwashed or was a tool of the Democrats and the socialists who had commandeered the State of California and were ruling the roost in Sacramento.
Hostetter said the State of California’s response to the coronavirus outbreaks exposed the Democrats as power mad tyrants hell bent on lording it over California’s citizens. The Democrats in Washington, D.C. were attempting to use the virus as means of recapturing the White House, he said.
During the run-up to the November 2020 election, he made multiple speeches in support of Donald Trump, including ne in which he stated, there was “no pandemic. There’s never been a local health emergency.”
He likened the government’s reaction to the COVID-19 circumstance to the holocaust, the genocidal extermination of a whole phase of the population that was being purposefully carried out. He equated self-quarantining to being “placed under house arrest. We’re going to be wearing masks for the rest of our lives.” He said the vaccines that were being prepared would contain a microchip that would inaugurate the Brave New World. “We are going to be digitally tracked for the rest of our lives. First masks, then vaccines, then vaccine passports. Next thing you know, you’re on the cattle cars.”
He accused Democratic officeholders and the Republicans who failed to oppose them of being “hack politicians. These politicians are bought off by Big Pharma and God only knows the corruption that is involved in keeping them dogging us and dogging us and dogging us like they have been for a year.”
After the November 2020 election concluded with Joseph Biden’s victory over Donald Trump, Hostetter signed onto the theory that the election had been stolen and he refused to come off of it, insisting that those who did not see it in that light were either communist traitors or dupes of the first magnitude.
Eleven days after the election, a million-man Make America Great Again March aimed at convincing government officials that a recount of the presidential election votes was in order was organized to take place in the nation’s capital. In a video he posted to the American Phoenix media channel while he was en route to that event, Hostetter stated, “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.”
When the million-man MAGA March did not result in reversing the presidential election outcome, Hostetter and, Taylor, Smith, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele heeded President Trump’s call to converge on Washington D.C. during the election certification to stage a protest that would prevent what he said would be an illegitimate transfer of power.
Taylor and Hostetter reacted to that signal from the president in a text exchange in which they resolved to travel to the Capitol in order to “intimidate Congress.”
While yet in Southern California in December 2020, at rallies in Orange County, Hostetter appealed to as many “patriots” as possible to heed the president’s call and go to Washington ahead of the joint session of Congress to certify the election results on January 6 in order to protest that certification, which would be, if it went to Joseph Biden, he insisted, invalid. During one of those rallies, Hostetter propounded that the “elected whores,” meaning the members of Congress, should “fix this mess and keep America America.” Allowing the crooked Democrats who had stolen the election to put their kingpin Joseph Biden in the White House was tantamount to treason, he said, which “patriots” would not stand for. Those members of Congress directly participating in the theft – meaning the Democrats – and the ones passively allowing it to happen – meaning the Republicans who were RINOs or Republicans In Name Only.
Hostetter, Taylor, Smith, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele made arrangements to rendezvous in Washington, D.C. in early January to take part in the Stop the Steal rally. Using text messages and communication applications Using various messaging applications and social media, including unencrypted text messages and emails and the encrypted messaging application Telegram, Hostetter, Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele communicated with one another and shared information regarding progress being made internally in the government toward certifying the election, coordinating their travel to Washington, D.C., promoting events sponsored by the American Phoenix Project along with the “type of weaponry”… gear… medical kits… radios… multiple cans of bear spray… knives… plates [i.e., bulletproof vests]… goggles… helmets…”
and references to guns, including Mele’s pronouncement that the “shorter the better. Mine will be able to be stashed under the seat. I’ll bring it. 18” barrel.” In one encrypted text Kinnison told the others that he, Mele and Warner were “[l]eaving tomorrow and driving instead of flying because our luggage would be too heavy.”
On January 5, at a rally near the U.S. Supreme Court, Alan Hostetter told a frenzied crowd, “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 of the people, 100 million strong, are coming for them if they do the wrong thing.” He told those assembled that they should ready themselves for “war tomorrow” to be carried out against the “vipers” in Congress who were refusing to declare the election of Joseph Biden null and void.
At the same rally, Russell Taylor said, “In these streets we will fight and we will bleed before we allow our freedom to be taken from us. We will not return to our peaceful way of life until this election is made right.”
At the January 6 rally, despite Smith being present, there was no evidence presented that he ever came into contact with Hostetter, Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele, all six of whom were wearing black plate-carrier vest. Hostetter and Taylor were carrying backpacks in which Taylor had a hatchet and a stun baton and Hostetter had a hatchet. Taylor was carrying a knife in the front chest pocket of his plate carrier vest.
Hostetter, Taylor, Mele, Martinez, Kinnison and Warner were on the Capitol grounds together at one point and joined rioters on the lower west terrace. At some point Hostetter and Taylor became separated from Mele, Martinez, Kinnison and Warner.
Subsequently, at 2:13 p.m., Warner entered the Capitol through a broken window. At approximately 2:30 p.m., Taylor and Hostetter joined rioters on the lower west terrace who were pushing through the line of law enforcement officers seeking to keep the crowd from advancing. During this encounter, Taylor was recorded beckoning the rioters, “Move forward, Americans,” and told the officers seeking to hold the line against the rioters, “Last chance boys. Move back!” Shortly thereafter, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Taylor, closely followed by Hostetter, pushed through the area that the capital police had been blocking, moved up the stairs onto a structure erected for the Inauguration and continued moving up on to the Upper West Terrace.
Hostetter, Taylor, Smith, Mele, Martinez, Kinnison and Warner managed to make it out of Washington, D.C. after the January 6 uprising but by the end of January, all seven were on the Justice Department’s radar. On January 28, 2021, the FBI served search warrants at Hostetter’s, Taylor’s, Smith’s, Mele’s, Martinez’s, Kinnison’s and Warner’s homes. More than five months later, on June 9, a sealed indictment was handed down by a grand jury in which Hostetter, Taylor, Mele, Martinez, Kinnison and Warner were charged with federal offenses that included conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, and unlawful entry on restricted building or grounds. The following day, the indictment was unsealed. Taylor was also charged with obstructing law enforcement during a civil disorder and unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon on Capitol grounds. Warner and Kinnison were charged with tampering with documents.
Initially, the six co-defendants put on a united front. In October 2021, however, Hostetter undertook a radical change of strategy in his legal defense. On October 14 of that year, Hostetter told Judge Royce Lamberth, who had been assigned to his case and that of his five codefendants, that he wanted to represent himself, stating his rationale for doing so was that there was no truth or substance to the charges, that the federal government knew there was no case against him and was proceeding with the criminal charges in an effort to both discredit him and bankrupt him financially.
Lamberth said that whatever Hostetter’s impressions were of the case against him and despite his knowledge of the law gained by his more than 23 years as a police officer, it was ill-advised for him to seek to represent himself in the legal arena with which he had virtually no expertise. Despite Lamberth telling Hostetter he had “never seen a pro se defendant actually succeed” and that he would be better defended by an attorney than by himself, Hostetter intimated to Lamberth that he believed the Justice Department and the courts are corrupt, and that he wanted the opportunity to illustrate that through his trial, and did not want to be hampered by an attorney who is likewise corrupted by the system. In the face of Hostetter insisting on being his own lawyer, which Lamberth had no choice but to accept, the case continued its progression toward trial.
In his next move, Hostetter made a sharp break with his co-defendants.
Asserting he was the target of a “classic FBI counterintelligence program operation” and that he had come to believe that at least some of those among Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele and perhaps all were government informants, Hostetter sought to have the charges against him dismissed.
Referencing “secret societies,” including 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 and referencing Satanic iconography pervading American culture in which he cited symbology on the American one dollar bill and in cultural landmarks such as the movie The Wizard of Oz, Hostetter in a motion to the court said he was targeted by the government and its Justice Department and the FBI for taking a stand in opposition to “Covid-19 lockdowns and stay-at-home orders” instituted by dark and sinister forces during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hostetter stated he believed that his allies in the fight against government-imposed COVID-19 precautions – Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison, Mele and Smith – 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’s motion. 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.”
Prime candidates for those who were serving as government informants, Hostetter claimed, were Taylor, his ally in the formation of the American Phoenix Project, and Smith.
Judge Lamberth denied Hostetter’s motion.
Hostetter initially declared his intention of insisting on a speedy trial, but the deadline for the government putting on its case against him was tolled when he himself made motions which suspended the trial date countdown.
Hostetter, having accused his co-defendants, who had once been among his closest of associates, of being government agents who were conspiring against him, soon realized that his continuing presence in Orange County, among others who had likewise been intimately associated with him in his crusade against California’s liberal political establishment, was no longer tenable. Hostetter departed San Clemente for Poolville, Texas.
On February 6 2023, Hostetter entered a waiver of jury trial, consenting to have Judge Lamberth hear all of the charges against him and Judge Lamberth on May 1, 2023 assented to that arrangement.
In the lead up to the trial, Hostetter sought to convince Lamberth that the federal government had engaged in an elaborate effort to entrap him and that despite nearly a year of resisting COVID-19 restrictions and his efforts to resist the certification of Joseph Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, “three fundamental pillars” undergirded his defense: that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald J. Trump; that the challenge to the November 2020 vote was taking place independent of him and that the assault outside and inside the Capitol that took place on January 6 was a “false flag operation” staged by “federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.”
Hostetter’s defense in much of its aspect dwelt upon the government’s use of these so-called false flag operatives or “plants,” that is, individuals who were masquerading or pretending to be something they were not and inveigled or entrapped innocent individuals into engaging in illegal activity they would otherwise not have taken part in.
Prior to trial, Hostetter had sought to convince Judge Lamberth that Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers, had been secretly acting as a government informant, compromising those who were seeking to prevent Joseph Biden’s theft of the 2020 election to the Democrats. To prevent those who were being informed upon from realizing they were being betrayed by Rhodes, Hostetter said, the government had filed sedition charges against him in order to disguise the fact that Rhodes had been working with the government.
Ahead of trial, Hostetter told Judge Lamberth that he has come to believe that Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele were similarly working in league with the government and that the criminal charges filed against them were camouflaging that reality. In actuality, Hostetter maintained, Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele, along with Smith and other members of the Three Percenter militia movement and even Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio tried to infiltrate the American Phoenix Project on behalf of the government as a “special project” because he had “shown some leadership ability.”
Judge Lamberth dismissed those assertions as groundless. “You don’t have any facts to support your allegations,” he said.
On July 7, 2023, Hostetter’s trial began on the four charges contained in a superseding indictment against him: conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting; 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. In his opening statement, Hostetter sought to argue that the government had invited chaos on January 6 by lax security around the Capitol to create a crisis so that a rush to certify Joseph Biden as president would take place. “Our country has been overthrown,” Hostetter said on the first day of trial, emphasizing his continuing belief that Donald Trump was the real winner of the 2020 election. “This whole thing is corrupt.” With the Capitol lightly guarded in the face of massive protests, he indicated, security was soon overwhelmed, at which point the nation’s lawmakers had a pretext to certify the election.
At issue in the trial was 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 were 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.
Prior to Hostetter’s trial beginning, Taylor had entered a guilty plea, which carried with it an agreement to cooperate in the prosecution of Hostetter. Thus, Taylor was not in a position to assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and was called by the prosecution. Hostetter, somewhat unskillfully, sought to use the prosecution’s use of Taylor’s testimony against him to reinforce his assertion that he was being set up by the government. At one point, Hostetter told Lamberth, “My opinion is that the entire thing was staged.”
When Hostetter had the opportunity to cross examine his one-time ally in the fight against governmental oppression, he asked Taylor if he was surprised the Capitol wasn’t secured better than it was. Taylor said he was.
Nevertheless, the action Hostetter and Taylor engaged in on the Capitol grounds toward the Upper West Terrace was damning. Prosecutors produced for Judge Lamberth a video of Hostetter on the terrace stating, “The people have taken back their house. Hundreds of thousands of patriots showed up today to take back their government!” as well as a picture of himself and Taylor he posted to an Instagram account that said, “This was the shot heard round the world!…the 2021 version of 1776. That war lasted 8 years. We are just getting started.”
Lamberth, a Ronald Reagan-appointee with a pro-law enforcement bent, was favorably disposed toward Hostetter on at least two accounts – the defendant’s military and law enforcement background and willingness to place himself entirely in the judge’s hands by accepting a bench trial in which he trusted Lamberth to serve as the jury. Lamberth accepted that Hostetter was absolutely convinced that the election had been stolen from President Trump in the course of the 2020 election. And the judge had no problem with the ideological precepts that Hostetter had adopted. It was the former police chief’s advocacy of action and violent action in particular that proved problematic. Judge Lamberth found Hostetter’s belated disavowals of those advocacies, which unfortunately for him had been memorialized in multiple cases on video, unconvincing.
Taylor, led through his testimony by the prosecution, acknowledged coming 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 at that point. He and Hostetter, Taylor testified from the witness stand, were involved in what he now 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 because he was an effective dissident fighting COVID-19 mask mandates, lockdowns and the Democrats’ efforts to commander the White House, the Congress and the other machinery of government.
Hostetter, contradicting Taylor, maintained that he did not have possession of the hatchet, which had been referenced during the Telegram communications while Hostetter, Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele made during their preparations to attend the 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.
In attempting to bolster its case against Hostetter, the U.S. Attorney’s Office presented the testimony of police officers who witnessed the violence at the Capitol firsthand, video of the protest and chaos, including Hostetter’s statements, and testimony of FBI agents indicating Holstetter had conspired with Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele to attend the Stop the Steal rally and interrupt the certification of the election.
Hostetter unequivocally 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, officers testified. Hostetter and Taylor then pushed through the law enforcement line and moved through restricted areas of the Capitol grounds, the officers testified.
There was a presentation of Hostetter’s effort at an incitation to violence with the playing of a video he made after the 2020 election in which he said, “traitors need to be executed.” The prosecution also emphasized that he promoted January 6, 2021 as a day upon which “patriots” were to make a last stand. In one video which he made in November 2020, Hostetter was heard uttering “Some people, at the highest levels, need to be made an example of: an execution or two or three. Tyrants and traitors need to be executed as an example so nobody pulls this shit again.”
Hostetter did attempt with several witnesses, including Capitol police officers, to determine why there was not higher or more substantial fencing around the Capitol or more officer on duty there on January 6. That the Capitol Police had or had not undertaken more intensive precautions than what Hostetter asserted they had before the mayhem of January 6 manifested did not serve to convince Judge Lamberth that Hostetter’s action was mitigated in any meaningful way.
In his closing argument, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Mariano, who was prosecuting Hostetter, said “There is no ‘the police didn’t stop me in time’ defense. If Alan Hostetter wants to know what could have been done to prevent January 6, he could start by looking in the mirror.”
Judge Lamberth found Hostetter’s assertions and the puerile evidence he sought to marshal to back them up unconvincing.
“Citizens can make up their minds on politics or other bases,” Judge Lamberth said. He  rejected Hostetter’s contention that the action for which he was being prosecuted had come about because he had been entrapped by governmental agents who had lured him to join the faux revolution he led. Hostetter, the judge said, had marshaled no convincing evidence for his claim that the riot was “staged. Courts have got to have evidence.”
Hostetter, who throughout 2020 represented himself to the world as one of the most outspoken and dynamic firebrands in the new American patriotic movement, protesting governmental COVID precautions and disputing the 2020 election outcome, had not, the judge said, “presented any evidence that could make out an entrapment defense on the theory that the January 6 riot was a staged event.”
Judge Lamberth, while saying Hostetter, “has a right to believe whatever he likes about the 2020 presidential election and to voice those opinions,” said the former police chief did not have license to prevent the government from functioning.
“The First Amendment does not give anyone a right to obstruct or impede Congress by making it impossible for them to do their jobs safely, and it certainly does not give anyone a right to enter a restricted area while carrying a dangerous weapon.”
In his findings, Judge Lamberth stated he did not believe Hostetter’s claim that the hatchet had been stolen out of his vehicle and he didn’t have it in his backpack on January 6, 2021.
Upon consideration of all of the evidence and testimony, Judge Lamberth on July 13 found Hostetter guilty of all four counts against him.
Judge Lamberth declined prosecutors request that Hostetter be jailed immediately, scheduling a sentencing hearing for October 2023 that was delayed until December because the cases against all of Hostetter’s remaining co-defendants had not resolved themselves.
Ultimately, in sentencing Hostetter in December 2023, what Judge Lamberth had told Hostetter in 2021about how he would fare far better if he had been represented by an attorney was proven out. Lamberth sentenced Hostetter to 11 years and three months in federal prison to be followed by 36 months of supervised release. By comparison, all of his co-defendants were dealt with far more leniently. In fact, the five were given less time in prison combined than Hostetter was sentenced to serve. Taylor was given six months of home detention, three years of probation and an order to perform 100 hours of community service. Warner was sentenced to 27 months in prison. Martinez was sentenced to 21 months in prison. Kinnison was sentenced to 33 months in prison. Mele was sentenced to 33 months in prison.
Whether, at this point, Judge Nichols ruling in favor of Fischer, Lang and Garret can be brought to bear to lessen the time Hostetter will be spending incarcerated is an open question. He is imprisoned at the federal detention center in Oakdale, Louisiana, cut off, pretty much from the rest of the world and whatever support network he once enjoyed.
Among those who had been in his corner were his associates throughout his career in law enforcement, as well as though who were on the front lines with him in the battle he was waging against COVID restrictions, the 2020 Trump reelectoral effort and the Stop the Steal campaign that followed Trump’s defeat by Biden. Many of those involved in the legal debacle that followed the Stop the Steal effort are in no position to offer him any assistance and the other who are not in jail may yet fear, while Joseph Biden remains president, that assisting Hostetter might not be in their own best interest. Moreover, Hostetter’s legal strategy of maligning those who had been allayed with him in that fight as government informants may have left other disinclined to ride to his rescue at this point. Those allies he had in the Trump re-electoral campaign in 2020 are now too caught up in what is Trump’s third race for the presidency in 2024. That leaves Hostettoer’s erstwhile law enforcement profession colleagues. Some remain supportive, in their way, and sympathetic. Yet all remain cautious.
Robert Ramsey, whose progression up the chain of command in the Fontana Police Department paralleled that of Hostetter before Hostetter departed for Yorba Linda and Ramsey continued on to become Fontana police chief, was one of Hostetter’s closest friends. The lived nearby to one another in one of the more upscale sections of Orange County after their respective retirements. Ramsey had supported Hostetter and even took part in the initial protests Hostetter mounted against Governor Newsom, the State of California and local officials in their effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus during the COVID pandemic. But Ramsey, through his close perspective on the way in which Hostetter was conducting himself, saw the manner in which Hostetter had crossed the line into someone who, having once been part of the authoritative establishment himself, had now thrown himself wholeheartedly into contesting, challenging and defying that authority. When Hostetter upped the ante into acts of provocation, he parted company with his former fellow police officer.
So too was it with the other police officers at the Fontana Police Department with whom Hostetter was on close terms for decades. Even to the extent that some or even most shared with him the attitude that the Democrats who control Sacramento by virtue of holding every state government office from governor to lieutenant governor to attorney general to state treasurer to controller to insurance commissioner to superintendent of education to secretary of state and have supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature and who hold a less clearly cut advantage in Washington, D.C. are far too liberal in their politics and permissive in their organization of government, they were acutely aware that by linking themselves to Hostetter they would risk having to trade their reputations as respected upholders of the law for that of being outlaws.
Another law enforcement professional whose career in the same region of Southern California paralleled Hostetter’s was Steve Adams. Adams had risen through the ranks, during roughly the same timeframe, as Hostetter, not in Fontana but in Upland. Ultimately, in 2005, Adams had acceded to the position of Upland police chief. Their paths had crossed repeatedly, and they became friends. Before Hostetter’s sentencing in December, Adams had written a character reference letter to Judge Lamberth, imploring the judge to consider the wealth of positive contributions to society Hostetter had made as a serviceman, a line patrolmen, higher ranking police officer and ultimately as the assistant chief of police in Fontana and the chief of police in Yorba Linda. The good things that Hostetter had achieved in his role as a public servant over the course of 23 years should be held as factors in mitigation of the acts of well-meaning but misdirected desperation he had engaged in on January 6, 2021 and the days and weeks leading up to it, Adams sought to impart to the judge. Stating that “Alan is and always has been a protector,” Adams wrote, “I believe incarceration is not what Alan needs. Putting him in jail does not make society safer. He needs some mental type help.”
Hostetter resents Adams’ characterization of him and rejects in its entirety any suggestion that he is not in absolute control over his faculties. Indeed, he insists, he senses the reality of the world more clearly than do others. He yet perceives Donald Trump as “The greatest president this country ever had,” one whose service to the United States and the cause of liberty outstrips that of all others that have ever held the office, including Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, James Polk, James Madison, James Monroe, Dwight Eisenhower, George Washington and John Kennedy. For him, the true criminals of today are the traitors who in 2020 cheated Donald Trump out of the second term he deserved and rightfully won at polls who have been abetted by the corrupt and sinister FBI and Justice Department and their henchmen such as Judge Lamberth and the other members of the U.S. Judiciary who officiated over a set of processes that punished the true patriots such as himself who stepped up and tried to prevent the ongoing destruction of the country.
With Hostetter isolated at the Oakdale Federal Detention Center, it is unknown whether he or any legal representative on his behalf is looking at the implication of the Supreme Court’s upholding of Judge Nichols’ ruling.
The obstruction charge to which Nichols’ ruling was one of the four charges Hostetter was convicted on. Of moment is the seriousness of the obstruction charge, or its relative seriousness vis-à-vis the three other charges. Among a significant number of the more than 1,500 other defendants charged and now convicted for their action on January 6, roughly 350 of those were charged with obstruction. In more than 300 of those cases, obstruction was the most serious charge they faced, such that the tossing of the obstruction charge against them would conceivable considerably reduce the time they have yet to serve or, in some cases, result in their immediate release, given the amount of time they have already served.
In Hostetter’s case, all four of the charges he was hit with are considered serious. The conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding is arguably on a par with the obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting. And while simple entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds and disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds do rank lower on the seriousness scale than obstructing an official proceeding, it is of note that those two charges were enhanced by the consideration that Hostetter had a deadly or dangerous weapon in his possession when he did so.
Assuming first that Hostetter or someone on his behalf, perhaps in this case an actual attorney, will file with the court a motion to dismiss, after conviction, the obstruction count against him and assuming second that the obstruction count represents one-fourth of the 11 year and three month sentence Hostetter received, he could, conceivably, see his sentence reduced to 8.4375 years or 8 years, five months and ten days.

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