A Florida man was sentenced to eight months in prison and 24 months of supervised release on Monday for participating in the deadly January 6 Capitol attack. He is the first person to be charged and sentenced for a felony offense.
Paul Hodgkins was charged with one felony count of obstruction of an official proceeding.
“Although Mr. Hodgkins was only one member of a larger mob, he actively and intentionally participated in an event that threatened not only the security of the Capitol but democracy itself,” District Judge Randolph Moss said. “That is chilling, for many reasons.”
“He understood what he was doing,” Moss said. “He was one of a small number of people who made their way to the Senate floor.”
The Tampa, Florida man was seen at the United States Capitol on the Senate floor wearing a shirt with “Trump” written across it and holding a Trump flag.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mona Sedky described the incident on January 6 as “an act of domestic terrorism” and said that Hodgkins went to the United States Capitol to flaunt his disrespect for the law.
“He willingly joined the fray, and he steadfastly remained a part of it,” Sedky said.
Hodgkins’ attorney, Patrick Leduc, asked the judge to be forgiving, lenient, and like Abraham Lincoln.
“The Court has a chance to emulate Lincoln. We have the chance to be as Lincoln has hoped, to exercise grace and charity, and to restore healing for those who seek forgiveness,” the attorney wrote in a court filing. “Alternatively, we can follow the mistakes of our past: to be harsh, seek vengeance, retribution, and revenge, and continue to watch the nation go down it’s present regrettable past.”
The thirty-eight-year-old told the judge that he made a “foolish decision” and that he was “truly remorseful.”
“I came to D.C. with the intention of supporting a President I loved,” Hodgkins said. “The storming of the U.S. Capitol building is not something I had any idea would happen.”
More than 500 people have been arrested in connection with the domestic terrorist attack that took five lives. Hodgkins is the third person to be sentenced.
“It is essential to send a message that this type of conduct is utterly unacceptable and that grave damage was done to our country that day,” the Judge said. “At the same time, I do not believe that Mr. Hodgkins — other than having made some very bad decisions that day and done some really bad things that day that did some real damage to the country — that he is a threat to that he is inherently an evil person.”