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Felony Defendant in Riot Sorry for 'Foolish Decision'

Paul Allard Hodgkins receives sentence of 8 months
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 19, 2021 11:52 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Florida man who breached the Senate chamber carrying a Trump campaign flag was sentenced Monday to eight months behind bars, the first resolution for a felony case in the Capitol insurrection, per the AP. Paul Allard Hodgkins apologized and said he was ashamed of his actions on Jan 6. Speaking calmly from a prepared text, he described being caught up in the euphoria as he walked down Washington's most famous avenue, then followed a crowd of hundreds up Capitol Hill and into the Capitol building. “If I had any idea that the protest ... would escalate (the way) it did ... I would never have ventured farther than the sidewalk of Pennsylvania Avenue,” Hodgkins told the judge. He added: “This was a foolish decision on my part.”

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Prosecutors had asked for Hodgkins to serve 18 months behind bars, saying in a recent filing that he, “like each rioter, contributed to the collective threat to democracy” by forcing lawmakers to temporarily abandon their certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory over President Trump and to scramble for shelter from incoming mobs. His sentencing could set the bar for punishments of hundreds of other defendants as they decide whether to accept plea deals or go to trial. He and others are accused of serious crimes but were not indicted, as some others were, for roles in larger conspiracies. Hodgkins pleaded guilty last month to one count of obstructing an official proceeding, which carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop lesser charges, including entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct.

(Read more Capitol riot stories.)

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