Capitol rioter sentenced to 8 months in prison
A Capitol rioter was sentenced to 8 months in prison on Monday, the first felony sentence imposed on a participant in the attack on Jan. 6.
Paul Allard Hodgkins had pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, which carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss ordered the sentence in a hearing, saying he was encouraged by Hodgkins’s remorse over his participation in the riot, but called the events on Jan. 6 “chilling.”
“Democracy requires the cooperation of the government,” Moss said. “When a mob is prepared to attack the Capitol to prevent our elected officials of both parties from performing their constitutional and statutory duty, democracy is in trouble. The damage that Mr. Hodgkins and others caused that day is way beyond a several-hour delay in certification [of the election]. It is damage that will persist in this country for decades.”
Federal prosecutors had recommended an 18-month prison sentence for Hodgkins, acknowledging that he had been working to accept responsibility for his actions that day, but that he had been a willing and active participant in the riot.
While Hodgkins was not accused of carrying out any of the violence that rocked the Capitol on Jan. 6, prosecutors pointed out that he entered the complex, and even the Senate chamber, carrying a “Trump 2020” sign, latex gloves, protective eye goggles and rope.
According to court documents, Hodgkins had traveled from Tampa, Fla., to attend former President Trump’s rally over his baseless claims of election fraud.
In comments to the court Monday, Hodgkins apologized for his participation in the mob that stormed the Capitol and said he now recognizes President Biden as the rightful president.
“I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I am truly remorseful and regretful for my actions in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021,” Hodgkins said. “I say this, not because I face consequences, but because of the damage that day’s actions have caused, the way that this country that I love has been hurt.”
Updated at 12:46 p.m.