A Florida man who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and took a selfie inside the Senate chamber while donning a Trump campaign flag and protective eye goggles is the first insurrectionist to get prison time for his crime.
Paul Hodgkins, a 38-year-old Tampa resident, was sentenced to 8 months in prison on Monday after previously pleading guilty to a single felony count of obstruction of an official proceeding. D.C. District Judge Randolph Moss also sentenced Hodgkins to 24 months of supervision after detention, on top of the already agreed-upon $2,000 in restitution and a promise to cooperate with federal prosecutors in their ongoing investigation into the riot.
Moss did not order Hodgkins to immediately go into custody; instead, he will be allowed to self-surrender to the Bureau of Prisons at a later date.
Federal guidelines stated that Hodgkins could have faced up to 21 months in prison and a fine of $250,000, and prosecutors had asked for an 18-month sentence. They said his actions were one of the reasons the Senate had to evacuate that day and that he “came prepared for confrontation.”
“He proudly posed for selfies and texted those to his friends. He made himself part of the action,” Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mona Sedky said during the Monday sentencing hearing.
Arguing that Hodgkins “was part and parcel of an act of domestic terrorism going around him,” Sedky told the judge that his sentence had larger implications for other Capitol riot offenders—and the potential to have a chilling effect on future similar crimes.
Hodgkins’ sentencing will “send a loud and clear message to other would-be rioters that if and when they are caught they will be held accountable, and that people who might be contemplating a sequel to the Jan. 6 attack will stand down, and there won’t be the next time,” Sedky said.
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SOURCE: The Daily Beast, Pilar Melendez