Man who stormed Senate chamber with Trump flag enters guilty plea

A man who took part in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot and stormed into the Senate chamber while waving a Trump flag has pleaded guilty.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement released on Wednesday that Paul Hodgkins, 38, pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing an official proceeding. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Hodgkins is scheduled to be sentenced on July 19 at 10 a.m.

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According to the DOJ, Hodgkins entered the Capitol at around 2:50 p.m. on Jan. 6. 

"Hodgkins 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," the DOJ said in the statement. "Hodgkins walked toward the individuals and remained standing with them while they continued commanding the attention of others."

Hodgkins, a crane operator at a steel factory, had initially faced a five-count indictment, but as CBS News reports, prosecutors agreed to drop four charges after he pleaded guilty to one. With his plea agreement, he likely faces between 15 and 21 months in prison.

The DOJ announced on Tuesday that it had dismissed a case against an alleged Capitol rioter for the first time. Prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss the case against Christopher Kelly of New York, who had been charged after the FBI received photos of him at the Capitol.

Prosecutors did not say why they decided to dismiss the case against Kelly, writing in the filing, "The government believes that dismissal without prejudice at this time serves the interests of justice.”