Paul Hodgkins sentenced for Capitol rioting

A Tampa, Florida, man who participated in the January 6 attempted coup d’état at the U.S. Capitol riot will spend eight months in prison after he was sentenced for a felony charge stemming from the incident.

Prosecutors had sought an 18-month sentence for 38-year-old Paul Allard Hodgkins.

Hodgkins, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, made his way into the Senate chamber as President Joe Biden’s election win was being certified.

According to court documents, Hodgkins entered the U.S. Capitol building at approximately 2:50 p.m. on Jan. 6.

Around 3 p.m., he entered the Senate chamber, walked among the desks, and then removed eye goggles. He took a “selfie-style” photograph with his cell phone and walked down the Senate well, where, a few feet away, several individuals were shouting, praying and cheering using a bullhorn.

Hodgkins walked toward the individuals and remained standing with them while they continued commanding the attention of others.

At approximately 3:15 p.m., Hodgkins exited the Senate chamber and left the U.S. Capitol Building. Hodgkins was never accused of assault or property damage but pleaded guilty last month to obstructing an official proceeding.

Hodgkins pleaded guilty on June 2 to one felony count of obstructing an official proceeding and was sentenced by Judge Randolph D. Moss in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

“If I had any idea that the protest … would escalate (the way) it did … I would never have ventured farther than the sidewalk of Pennsylvania Avenue,” Hodgkins told the judge, adding, “This was a foolish decision on my part.”

His lawyer characterized his participation as “the story of a man who for just one hour on one day lost his bearings … who made a fateful decision to follow the crowd.”

Prosecutors said that instead of turning around once inside the Capitol, Hodgkins “pressed forward” and characterized his actions as a “grave danger to our democracy.”

More than 500 people were charged with various crimes related to the attack, with 165 accused of assaulting or impeding police officers, according to the Justice Department.

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