By Marcia Barajas and Eric Grammatico
WASHINGTON, DC – In light of the unprecedented violence that took place Jan. 6, 2021, in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., more than 535 individuals have been arrested or charged for crimes related to the attempt to overturn Trump’s loss in the 2020 Presidential Election.
A Florida man was sentenced Monday to eight months in prison, followed by 24 months of supervised release, and an assessment of $100 for his part in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Paul Hodgkins, from Tampa, pleaded guilty on June 2 for obstructing an official proceeding after breaching the U.S Senate Chamber. Hodgkins was sentenced by Judge Randolph D. Moss in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
According to court documents, Hodgkins entered the U.S. Capitol and the Senate Chamber, and walked among the desks. Hodgkins was filmed with a flag over his shoulder and with eye goggles around his neck. He was seen taking a selfie with a self-described “shaman” in a horned helmet.
Hodgkins is the first to be sentenced for a felony crime in connection with the breach. Moss commented that Hodgkins had “actively and intentionally” participated in an attack that threatened “democracy itself,” BuzzFeed reported.
A lawyer for Hodgkins asked Moss not to impose a prison sentence.
“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 told Judge Moss.
Hodgkins was not accused of assaulting anyone or damaging property, but he boarded a bus in his hometown of Tampa bound for a Trump rally.
Hodgkins, 38, was “carrying a backpack with rope, goggles and latex gloves,” stated an article published by the Independent.
“Prosecutors said he walked through the grounds of the Capitol on [January 6], an area already covered in downed barriers and broken windows. He walked past police officers and injured people as the crowd pushed on towards the Capitol,” added the journal.
“Time and time again, rather than turn around and retreat, Hodgkins pressed forward,” the legal filing from the government said, quoted the Independent.
Hodgkins breached the U.S. Capitol at approximately 2:50 p.m. Around 3 p.m., he was seen parading throughout the Senate Chamber carrying what appeared to be a wooden flag-pole slung over his left shoulder.
A large red flag drooped down behind him as its white-emboldened letters were fragmented and obscured from view. But upon closer examination, the fragmentation caused by the flag’s crooked and idle position could no longer hide the fact that it spelled “TRUMP.”
Hodgkins then proceeded to walk toward the Senate Well and decided to take an incriminating selfie on the way. He continued to walk toward a group of individuals that were sending shouts and cheers throughout the Senate Chamber and stood beside them as they commanded the crowd’s attention.
At approximately 3:15 p.m., Paul Hodgkins exited the U.S. Capitol without assaulting anyone and/or causing damage to property. He was arrested in February after the FBI received a tip from one of Hodgkin’s acquaintances who saw the selfie taken on Jan. 6.
He is the first of an anticipated many to receive a felony sentence for their involvement in the Jan. 6 obstruction of the 2020 election.