Florida resident Paul Hodgkins, who carried a Trump flag into the Senate chamber on January 6th and took a selfie, received an eight-month prison sentence for his involvement in the Capitol attack. He is the first participant to earn a felony sentence for the events of January 6th and may be the first to go to prison for his role that day.
Hodgkins, who was sentenced in a D.C. federal court on Monday, pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of an official proceeding in exchange for prosecutors dismissing four other charges. Prosecutors had requested an 18-month sentence and said in a filing that Hodkins “like each rioter, contributed to the collective threat to democracy” by interrupting the certification of the 2020 election.
“When a mob storms the Capitol, democracy is in trouble. The damage that they caused goes way beyond the delayed certification, it will last for decades,” U.S. District Judge Randolph D. Moss said at Hodgkins’ sentencing, according to HuffPost reporter Ryan J. Reilly.
Photos and videos from the day show Hodgkins in a Trump 2020 shirt and carrying a large flag that bore Trump’s name. Hodgkins also took a selfie in the Senate chamber after rioters breached it. He is not the first Capitol riot defendant to be sentenced, but he is the first to be convicted of a felony; two other defendants involved in the attack have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors.
The judge acknowledged the unprecedented nature of today’s sentencing. “There is no existing benchmark for the court to apply,” he said. “This is the first felony sentencing for the Capitol attack. This case defies comparison to any garden-variety obstruction cases.”
“Jan. 6 was genuinely an act of terrorism,” said Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mona Sedky. “The need to preserve respect for the law is really at its pinnacle in a crime like this.”
But Hodgkins’ lawyer framed it differently. What happened that day “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,” Patrick Leduc said.
Approximately 500 people have been arrested in connection with the Capitol attack.