Florida Man Paul Allard Hodgkins Becomes First to Receive Felony Sentencing for Role in Capitol Riot

Paul Allerd Hodgkins, 38, was photographed inside the US Capitol on January 6.
Paul Allerd Hodgkins, 38, was photographed inside the US Capitol on January 6.Handout

Paul Allard Hodgkins, a 38-year-old crane operator, will serve eight months in prison and his sentence could serve as a benchmark for future cases.

Florida man Paul Allard Hodgkins has become the first Capitol rioter sentenced for a felony charge related to the January 6 assault. The 38-year-old from Tampa, who carried a large “Trump 2020” flag inside the Senate chamber during the Capitol riot, will spend eight months in prison after pleading guilty to a single felony count of obstructing an official proceeding.

U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss of Washington said Hodgkins’ sentence – less than the 15 to 21-month sentence recommended and far less than the maximum sentence of 20 years – could set a benchmark for future cases.

"Although you were only one member of a larger mob, you actively participated in a larger event that threatened the Capitol and democracy itself," Moss said at the sentencing. "The damage that was caused that way was way beyond a several-hour delay of the vote certification, it is a damage that will persist in this country for several decades."

This comes after Hodgkins and a mob of at least 500 other supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol in order to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s election win.

Hodgkins acknowledged that he took a selfie during the assault.

“That was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a protest,” Moss said. “It was … an assault on democracy.”

Moss added that Hodgkins received a lesser sentence than prosecutors had recommended as he didn’t hurt anyone, didn’t damage government property and wasn’t one of the leaders in the attack.

His lawyer Patrick Leduc, however, had asked the judge not to impose a prison sentence at all, saying that Hodgkins, who works as a crane operator, is "law abiding, hardworking, honest, caring, kind, thoughtful, generous, and the kind of person you would want for a neighbor,” who “made a fateful decision to follow the crowd, and found himself for approximately 15 minutes in a place that he sincerely regrets to have been,” according to a court filing cited by CBS News.

Leduc, at one point, also said calling the attack domestic terrorism was “gaslighting the country” and that the January 6 events was “a protest that became a riot.”

Moss, however, retorted, “There were people who were storming through the halls of the Capitol saying, ‘Where’s Nancy?’ That is more than a simple riot.”

Hodgkins pled guilty in June as a part of a plea deal, in which prosecutors agreed to drop less serious charges and ask for a reduced sentence for his cooperation, the Associated Press reported.

Two other people have thus far been sentenced as a part of the January 6 assault, including Indiana woman Anna Morgan-Lloyd, who was sentenced to three years’ probation, and Florida man Michael Curzio, who was sentenced to six months in prison, but released July 14 on credit for time he was detained pending trial, NBC News reported.

Five people died during the Capitol assault, including a police officer and a rioter. Two additional police officers deployed against rioters died of suicide in the days following the attack, the Associated Press reported.

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