Related Topics

  • US Capitol riots

image copyrightUS Attorney’s Office for Washington

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, 38, pled 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.

Speaking in a Washington DC court on Monday, Hodgkins described his participation in the siege this past winter as a "foolish decision".

"I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I am truly remorseful and regretful for my actions, not because I face consequences but because of the damage that day's incident caused and the way this country that I love has been hurt," he told the judge.

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

To date, the FBI has arrested more than 535 individuals 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.

In court documents, prosecutors acknowledged that Hodgkins did not personally engage in violence or destroy property.

media captionPhone footage reveals chaotic scenes inside US Capitol

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.