Paul Allard Hodgkins, a 38-year-old crane operator from Tampa, Florida, was sentenced to eight months in prison on Monday for his role in the Jan. 6 terrorist attack on the United States. Capitol.
Hodgkins’ sentencing was the first for a crime in a series of sentencings that are expected to number in the hundreds for people who broke into the Capitol building.
“He was staking a claim on the floor of the United States Senate, not with the American flag but with a flag declaring his loyalty to a single individual over the entire nation,” Judge Randolph Moss of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said, according to CNN.
“When a mob is prepared to attack the Capitol to prevent elected officials from both parties from performing their constitutional and statutory duty, democracy is in trouble … the damage that they caused that day is way beyond the delays that day. It is a damage that will persist in this country for decades,” Moss said.
“The need to deter others is especially strong in cases involving domestic terrorism, which the breach of the Capitol certainly was,” Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mona Sedky said before the sentencing, according to the Washington Post.
Hodgkins was recognised through films and photos taken within the Capitol, and when questioned by the FBI, he admitted to being there.
He admitted to investigators that he took a bus from Tampa to Washington, D.C., to join the riot. Hodgkins may face a sentence of 15 to 21 months in jail, a fine of $7,500 to $75,000, and a restitution payment of $2,000 if convicted.
Prosecutors from the United States The District of Columbia Attorney’s Office requested a sentence in the middle of the range.
Clad in a “Trump 2020” T-shirt Hodgkins carried a Trump flag into the well of the Senate.
He was charged with a series of crimes, including those directly related to the fact they occurred in the Capitol building. He pleaded guilty last week to a single count of obstruction.
Sedky wrote Hodgkin’s actions were “calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion” and eligible to be considered or a domestic terror enhancement that could have doubled his sentence.
However, prosecutors decided not to seek an enhancement for domestic terrorism despite recent comments from FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“That attack, that siege, was criminal behavior, plain and simple, and it’s behavior that we, the FBI, view as domestic terrorism,” Wray said, according to the Washington Post.
Wray also told the Senate that violent extremism has been “metastasizing” in the country since the Jan. 6 attack.
The case is being viewed as a litmus test for those facing charges for their behaviour that day. On January 6, Hodgkins and 800 others assaulted the Capitol.
His is one of 500 charges filed so far. A total of 100 other rioters are anticipated to face additional charges.
Prosecutors filed charges last week against Chris Kelly, a New York resident who was also accused with obstruction.
Hodgkins is the second person to plead guilty to riot-related crimes. The other is Jon Schaffer, a member of Oath Keepers.
The first misdemeanour trespass conviction was handed down in June.