Rioter Who Stormed Senate Chamber Pleads Guilty

Paul Hodgkins is second rioter to plead guilty
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2021 4:54 PM CDT
Second Capitol Rioter Pleads Guilty
Prosecutors say Paul Hodgkins was identified from photos and video of the Jan. 6 riot.   (US Attorney's Office for Washington)

A Florida man who stormed the Senate chamber on Jan. 6 waving a Trump flag has become the second rioter to plead guilty—and his case is being closely watched by lawyers for other riot suspects not charged with violent crimes. The Department of Justice says Paul Hodgkins, 38, pleaded guilty to one felony count of obstructing a government proceedings, the Hill reports. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, but Hodgkins' sentence is expected to fall within federal guidelines of 15 to 21 months when he is sentenced July 19. Four other charges were dismissed and prosecutors gave him credit for pleading guilty in a timely manner and accepting responsibility for his actions.

Prosecutors said Hodgkins entered the building with a mob of other Trump supporters and took a selfie in the Senate chamber. He was arrested Feb. 16 after an acquaintance recognized him in photos of the riot and notified the FBI, WFLA reports. "There’s no justification for January 6. That’s why he is standing up and entering a plea of guilty," said Hodgkin's lawyer, Patrick Leduc, per the Washington Post. "He acknowledges what he did was wrong, and there’s no excuses for it." Leduc described Hodgkins, who had no prior criminal record, as a "working Joe who is a crane operator at a steel processing plant." Hodgkins also agreed to pay $2,000 restitution. Prosecutors estimated damage to the Capitol at $1.5 million. (Read more Capitol riot stories.)

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