Capitol Rioter Sentenced to 8 Months for Trying to Stop Vote Certification

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Politics|Capitol Rioter Sentenced to 8 Months for Trying to Stop Vote Certification

Paul A. Hodgkins was the archetypal idiosyncratic charged with a felony successful the onslaught to beryllium sentenced. His punishment could beryllium a guidepost for scores of akin defendants.

Paul A. Hodgkins was 1  of astir  50 rioters who made it to the Senate level  connected  Jan. 6.
Credit...U.S. Capitol Police, via Associated Press

July 19, 2021

The archetypal idiosyncratic to person pleaded blameworthy to storming the Capitol connected Jan. 6 with the volition of stopping the certification of the Electoral College ballot was sentenced connected Monday to 8 months successful situation successful what could service arsenic an indicator for scores of akin cases.

The defendant, Paul A. Hodgkins, pleaded blameworthy past month to a azygous felony number — obstruction of an authoritative proceeding earlier Congress — and admitted to breaching the Senate level with a Trump emblem and a backpack filled with items similar goggles, enactment and a brace of latex gloves.

Mr. Hodgkins was 1 of astir 50 radical who made it to the Senate floor, prosecutors say. His acknowledgment that helium went heavy into the Capitol intending to disrupt the peaceful modulation of powerfulness acceptable him isolated successful the eyes of prosecutors from scores of different members of the mob who had simply walked into the building.

At a sentencing proceeding successful Federal District Court successful Washington, Judge Randolph D. Moss said determination needed to beryllium “severe consequences” for the attack, but besides noted that Mr. Hodgkins, a 38-year-old Florida crane operator, was a first-time offender and had pleaded blameworthy early. Those circumstances volition use to lone immoderate of the different defendants who are facing akin charges.

Judge Moss said the events of Jan. 6 — when, arsenic helium noted, a mob assaulted the location of Congress and forced legislators to driblet the concern of ideology and fly the gathering — were “extraordinary” and “chilling.”

“When a mob is prepared to onslaught the Capitol,” helium said, “democracy is successful trouble.”

Mr. Hodgkins told Judge Moss that helium was “remorseful” for breaking into the Capitol, calling it a “foolish decision.” He besides said that helium had followed the assemblage wrong the building, adding that if helium had known the riot was going to escalate arsenic it did, helium ne'er would person entered successful the archetypal place.

“In short,” Mr. Hodgkins said, “I allowed myself to enactment my passions earlier my principles.”

From the outset of the sprawling probe into the Capitol attack, prosecutors person struggled with however to use just standards of justness to hundreds of radical who did antithetic things and bore antithetic levels of culpability. Even though they were each portion of the aforesaid mob, immoderate rioters did small much than locomotion into — past retired of — the Capitol portion others shattered windows, broke into backstage offices oregon assaulted constabulary officers.

Mr. Hodgkins’s condemnation was little than fractional of the 18 months the authorities had asked for but much than the petition made by his lawyer, Patrick Leduc, for nary clip successful prison. The obstruction number helium was charged with is simply a felony and allowed prosecutors to inquire for situation clip but not usage the much politically inflammatory crimes of sedition oregon insurrection.

During the hearing, a prosecutor, Mona Sedky, said the authorities wanted to “frame” the charges against Mr. Hodgkins arsenic an enactment of home coercion to deter aboriginal attacks. But Ms. Sedky besides said prosecutors were not seeking a ceremonial sentencing enhancement for a transgression of terror.

The authorities person arrested astir 550 radical successful the Capitol attack, and arsenic of precocious past week astir 20 had entered blameworthy pleas. Only 3 defendants, including Mr. Hodgkins, person been sentenced, though much volition travel this summertime and into the fall.

The archetypal idiosyncratic to beryllium sentenced, Anna Morgan-Lloyd, of Indiana, was charged with a misdemeanor, and precocious past period she was allowed to reason her lawsuit without serving situation time. Another suspect charged with insignificant crimes, Michael Curzio, of Florida, was sentenced past week to clip served aft spending six months successful jailhouse — the maximum condemnation helium could person received nether the law.

In the days earlier Mr. Hodgkins was sentenced, his lawyer, Mr. Leduc, presented the lawsuit successful tribunal papers arsenic a benignant of cautionary tale, comparing the aftermath of the riot to the play aft the Civil War erstwhile President Abraham Lincoln was “facing the analyzable determination of however to heal a federation that was hopelessly divided.”

At the hearing, Mr. Leduc quoted Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural Address, saying that Judge Moss had a accidental to amusement “malice toward none” and “charity toward all.” Judge Moss responded by asking Mr. Leduc if a condemnation of nary situation clip would successful information “heal the country” oregon simply make conditions that mightiness promote different onslaught similar the 1 connected Jan. 6.

Mr. Leduc besides noted that Mr. Hodgkins had made “a fateful determination to travel the crowd” and was lone successful the Capitol briefly.

“It is the communicative of antheral who for conscionable 1 hr connected 1 day, mislaid his bearings and his way,” helium wrote earlier the hearing.

But Judge Moss rejected that depiction, saying that Mr. Hodgkins had brought goggles and a brace of gloves with him to the Capitol arsenic if “prepared for conflict.” Judge Moss besides noted that Mr. Hodgkins was carrying a Trump flag.

“He was staking a assertion connected the level connected the United States Senate,” Judge Moss said, “not with an American emblem but a emblem of a azygous idiosyncratic implicit a nation.”

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