US Capitol rioter who ‘posed for selfies’ in Senate heads to jail

Paul Allard Hodgkins, who breached the US Senate chamber carrying a Trump flag, receives an eight-month jail time period.

The US Capitol rioter who breached the US Senate chamber on January 6 carrying a Trump marketing campaign flag and posed for selfies, was sentenced Monday to eight months behind bars, the primary jail sentence within the Capitol revolt.

Paul Allard Hodgkins, 38, pleaded responsible on June 2 to obstruction of an official continuing, whereas Congress was within the strategy of formally certifying Joe Biden’s election final November as US president when supporters of former President Donald Trump rampaged by means of the constructing.

At a sentencing listening to in Washington, DC, on Monday, prosecutor Mona Sedky advised US District Judge Randolph Moss that Hodgkins, a resident of Tampa, Florida, donned goggles earlier than getting into the Senate chamber throughout the riot and “proudly posed for selfies” which he texted to buddies.

Sedky acknowledged that Hodgkins didn’t destroy any property “and he did not injure anyone”.

Hodgkins apologized and mentioned he was ashamed of his actions.

Speaking calmly from a ready textual content, he described being caught up within the euphoria as he walked down Washington’s most well-known avenue, then adopted a crowd of a whole bunch into the Capitol.

“If I had any idea that the protest … would escalate (the way) it did … I would never have ventured farther than the sidewalk of Pennsylvania Avenue,” Hodgkins advised the choose. He added: “This was a foolish decision on my part.”

Image featured in court docket paperwork reveals an arrow pointing in the direction of Paul Allard Hodgkins on the Senate dais on January 6, 2021 [Screengab: FBI via PACER]

Prosecutors had requested for Hodgkins to serve 18 months behind bars, saying in a latest submitting that he, “like each rioter, contributed to the collective threat to democracy” by forcing legislators to briefly abandon their certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory over President Donald Trump and to scramble for shelter from incoming mobs.

In announcing the sentence, Judge Randolph Moss mentioned that Hodgkins had performed a task, if not as important as others, in one of many worst episodes in American historical past. Still, he selected to present Hodgkins a yr much less in jail.

“That was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a protest,” Moss mentioned. “It was … an assault on democracy.” He added: “It left a stain that will remain on us … on the country for years to come.”

Video footage reveals Hodgkins sporting a Trump 2020 T-shirt, the flag flung over his shoulder and eye goggles round his neck, contained in the Senate. He took a selfie with a self-described shaman in a horned helmet and different rioters on the dais behind him.

Sentence might set precedent

The sentencing might set the bar for punishments of a whole bunch of different defendants as they resolve whether or not to just accept plea offers or go to trial. Hodgkins and others are accused of significant crimes however weren’t indicted, as some others had been, for roles in bigger conspiracies.

More than 535 individuals have been charged with participating within the assault, an unsuccessful try to cease Congress from certifying Biden’s victory over Trump, who had falsely claimed the election was stolen from him by means of widespread voting fraud.

While different accused January 6 rioters have entered responsible pleas, Hodgkins grew to become the primary to be sentenced to jail.

His lawyer pleaded with the choose to spare his 38-year-old consumer time in jail, saying the disgrace that may connect to Hodgkins for the remainder of his life must be factored in as punishment.

The lawyer argued in court docket papers that Hodgkins’s actions weren’t markedly completely different from these of Anna Morgan Lloyd — aside from Hodgkins stepping onto the Senate ground. Morgan Lloyd was the primary of the greater than 535 arrested to be sentenced. She pleaded responsible to misdemeanour disorderly conduct and final month was sentenced to 3 years of probation.

Hodgkins’s lawyer, Patrick N Leduc, described his consumer as an in any other case law-abiding American who, regardless of living in a poorer a part of Tampa, often volunteered at a meals financial institution. He famous that Hodgkins is an Eagle Scout.

Leduc mentioned Hodgkins’s actions on January 6 “is the story of a man who for just one hour on one day lost his bearings … who made a fateful decision to follow the crowd”.

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