A federal court on Monday issued the first prison sentence for the assault on the United States Congress on January 6, ordering the imprisonment for eight months of one of those prosecuted for this event, who had pleaded guilty.
The condemned man is Paul Allard Hodkings, one of the hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump (2017-2021) who that day stormed Congress in an attempt to prevent the formal session of ratification of the results of the presidential election in November 2020. .
The Department of Justice continues the investigation and prepares the prosecution of hundreds of people identified as participants in the seditious act.
Hodgkins, a Florida resident who entered the Senate carrying a Trump flag during the assault, said at the hearing that he had been carried away by the enthusiasm of the crowd.
“If I had had an idea that the protest was going to escalate as it did, I would never have ventured” to continue, he said, in addition to acknowledging that entering the Capitol was “a stupid decision” on his part. “
The defendant pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of official proceedings, a crime for which he could have received a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
With that acknowledgment of guilt, prosecutors dropped other charges, including unauthorized entry into a restricted building, and disorderly conduct.
The Prosecutor’s Office had recommended an 18-month imprisonment taking into account that the defendant had accepted responsibility for his actions on January 6, and that he nonetheless voluntarily participated in the assault.
Federal Judge Randolph Moss, in handing down his sentence, appreciated the repentance expressed by Hodkings, but called the events of January 6 “chilling.”
“That was not, in any sense, a protest,” added the judge. It was an assault on democracy. It left a stain that will remain on all of us, in the country, for years and years ”.
Assistant District Attorney Mona Sedky said that while Hodgkins was not directly involved in any violent act, she marched along with others who did participate in what she described as “the looting of the House of the People.”