A Florida man became the first Capitol rioter to receive a prison sentence after a D.C. judge ordered he serve eight months in prison on Monday—a punishment that could become the blueprint for what 100 or more defendants could face.
Judge Randolph Moss of the U.S. District Court of Washington on Monday sentenced Paul Allard Hodgkins to eight months in prison, 10 months less than prosecutors had hoped.
Moss told the court he thought eight months was sufficient due to Hodgkins’ lack of a criminal record and said he found the man’s statement to the court before sentencing “sincere.”
Before the sentence came down, Hodgkins—who pled guilty on July 2 to entering the Capitol to obstruct Congress—told the court he has “regret” for his actions on January 6 and that it was a “foolish decision” to take part in the riot.
Hodgkins said he doesn’t “blame any politician” for his actions—rebuffing a line of defense some have taken to shift responsibility onto former President Donald Trump for the riot.
Hodgkins told the court he loved Trump, but that he acknowledges Biden is the president of the United States.
“I acknowledge that Joseph R. Biden Jr. is president of the United States,” Hodgkins said.
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Prosecutors pushed for Hodgkins to serve 18 months in prison, as federal advisory guidelines state he should face a sentence of 15-21 months for pleading guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding. In court on Monday, prosecutors said Hodgkins was “part of an act of domestic terror” who caused a “meaningful impact on democracy.”
Hodgkins is one of more than 500 people to be charged in connection with the riot.
Photos and video clips show Hodgkins in the Senate chamber on January 6 holding a red, white, and blue “Trump 2020 flag” and Trump t-shirt. Hodgkins also took a selfie with Jacob Chansley, the QAnon influencer who calls himself the “Q Shaman.”
“Whatever punishment this court may provide will pale in comparison to the scarlet letter Mr. Hodgkins will wear for the rest of his life,” Hodgkins’ attorneys have said. In court on Monday, Hodgkins said he is worried about losing his job and his house, and hoped to pay a fine instead. His lawyers wanted a probation sentence, and asked for leniency because Hodgkins pled guilty.
In court on Monday, Moss rejected an attempt by Hodgkins’ attorneys to compare January 6 to the George Floyd protests from last year. “There were people in the hallway saying, ‘Where’s Nancy?” Moss said. “This was not an exercise of the 1st Amendment.”