Florida man is first to be sentenced to prison over US Capital riot


Florida man is first to be sentenced to prison over US Capital riot

A Florida man has become the first to be sentenced to prison for his part in the US Capitol riots on 6 January.

Paul Allard Hodgkins pleaded guilty in June to one felony count of entering the Capitol to obstruct Congress. He was jailed for eight months.

Prosecutors had asked for a term of 18 months, saying Hodgkins “contributed to the collective threat to democracy”.

The sentence is expected to set a benchmark for hundreds of upcoming cases from the Capitol riots.

Hodgkins, 38, told a Washington DC court that taking part in the invasion of the Capitol had been a “foolish decision”.

He said he regretted “the damage that day’s incident caused and the way this country that I love has been hurt”.

The crane operator from Tampa, was among an estimated 800 people who breached the Capitol on 6 January.

The FBI has so far arrested more than 535 people for criminal activity on the day of the siege.

Video footage shows Hodgkins inside the Senate chamber, wearing a Trump 2020 t-shirt, with a pair of goggles around his neck and a Trump flag slung over his shoulder.

Court documents include a selfie taken by Hodgkins inside the Senate. One of the most prominent participants in the riots, the so-called QAnon Shaman, can be seen in the background.

Prosecutors noted that Hodgkins did not personally engage in violence or destroy property.

A lawyer for Hodgkins had asked for judge for leniency, saying any sentence given “will pale in comparison” to the lifelong shame he will carry.

Hodgkins’ felony sentence follows one other Capitol riot sentence issued so far.

Anna Morgan-Lloyd, a 49-year-old woman from Indiana, received three years of probation and no jail time after pleading guilty in June to a disorderly conduct charge, a misdemeanour.

Ms Morgan-Lloyd, who was inside the Capitol for around 10 minutes and did not engage in violence, apologised for taking part.