First Capitol Rioter Charged With Felony Gets 8 Months Jail Time

A Florida man who earlier breached the US Senate chamber during the January 6 Capitol Hill attack was sentenced to eight months jail time on Monday — becoming the first felony sentence related to the riot. 

The FBI got a tip in February that identified Paul Allard Hodgkins, 38, of Tampa, as one of the hundreds of persons seen in pictures and recordings inside the Capitol.

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In June, he pleaded guilty to a single felony offense of obstructing an official proceeding, with a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

Hodgkins apologized to the court, claiming he was embarrassed of his conduct and that he was caught up in the moment as a crowd surged into the Capitol to protest Joe Biden ’s certification as the 2020 presidential election winner.

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“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, according to a report by The Associated Press. “This was a foolish decision on my part.”

Prosecutors earlier argued for an 18-month sentence for Hodgkins, noting in a court filing that the accused, “like each rioter, contributed to the collective threat to democracy” by forcing lawmakers to abort the certification of the newly elected president.

Mona Sedky, an assistant US attorney argued that Hodgkins “willingly joined the fray, and he steadfastly remained a part of it.” She also claimed that Hodgkins’ goal in entering the Capitol “was to disturb the election process and disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.”

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Washington judge makes sentence

In the ruling, US District Court Judge Randolph Moss of Washington noted how the actions of those engaged in the attack goes beyond just entering the chambers of the US Capitol.

“Although you were only one member of a larger mob, you actively participated in a larger event that threatened the Capitol and democracy itself,” Moss said.

“The damage that was caused that way was way beyond a several-hour delay of the vote certification. It is a damage that will persist in this country for several decades,” he added.

Hodgin’s defense, Patrick Leduc, earlier urged the judge not to impose a jail term for the case claiming that Hodgkins is a “law abiding, hardworking, honest, compassionate, kind, thoughtful, kind, and the type of guy you would want for a neighbor” according to court documents cited by various reports.

Leduc noted that on the day of the chaos, Hodgin’s “lost his bearings and his way … made a fateful decision to follow the crowd, and found himself for approximately 15 minutes in a place that he sincerely regrets to have been.”

He also said that his actions will haunt him for the rest of his life.

Meanwhile, Hodgkins earlier told the judge that he regretted his actions and that he would not have entered the Capitol if he had known about the violent activities that had taken place there.

I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I am truly remorseful and regretful for my actions, not because I face consequences but because of the damage that day’s incident caused and the way this country that I love has been hurt,” he said, noting that although he did not engage in any violence during the riot — nor did he do damage to any property, his “involvement did still contribute to the greater problem that took place.”

“The company of us who remained calmer in our protests may have made others feel emboldened,” Hodgkins added.

Sedky has noted that imposing a sentence that involves jail time “will send a loud and clear message to other would-be rioters that if and when they’re caught, they will face a serious sentence. So there won’t be a next time.”

Hodgkins is the third person to be convicted for being part of the Capitol siege, and he has received the longest punishment imposed so far.

After pleading guilty to a charge of illegally protesting in the Capitol, Anna Morgan-Lloyd, an Indiana lady, was sentenced to three years of probation in June.

​​After pleading guilty to the same offense, Michael Curzio  of Florida was sentenced to six months in jail. He was then freed on July 14 after the judge awarded him credit for the period he was imprisoned pending trial.

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Steeve Strange

Steeve is the CEO & Co-Founder of The Scoop.

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