A 38-year-old Florida man has received the longest sentence so far for his role in the January 6 Capitol riots. As NBC News reports, Paul Allard Hodgkins was clearly photographed wearing a Trump 2020 t-shirt while holding a Trump flag inside the Capitol building.
Following his involvement in breaching the Capitol building, Hodgkins was arrest a little more than a month later on February 16. He then pled guilty to obstructing an official proceeding in June.
The felony, according to NBC News, carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison. However, U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss of Washington, DC, sentenced Hodgkins to only a fraction of that time, 8 months in prison, to be exact.
Judge Moss told Hodgkins in court that “although you were only one member of a larger mob, you actively participated in a larger event that threatened the Capitol and democracy itself. 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.”
According to Hodgkins’ lawyer, Patrick Leduc said his client “lost his bearing and his way” after making “a fateful decision to follow the crowd [into the Capitol] and found himself for approximately 15 minutes in a place that he sincerely regrets to have been.” Leduc also asked the judge to avoid imposing a prison sentence on his client.
Hodgkins, as NBC News reports, is the second Capitol rioter to receive a prison sentence. Michael Curzio, also of Florida, was sentenced to six months in prison for the same charge. He was released after being given credit for time served on July 14.
Paul Allard Hodgkin also issued a statement himself as well.
“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.”
Hodgkins, however, also claimed that he did not engage in any violence or destruction of any property. “I realize that my 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.”
Prosecutors hope that by imposing prison sentences on those who participated in the Capitol riots that it will send a “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.”
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