In the first felony conviction in the cases resulting from the riot at the US Capitol on January 6, a man was sentenced to 8 months in prison on Monday.
Paul Hodgkins, 38, traveled to Washington, DC for a Stop the Steal rally after then-President Trump urged his supporters to attend via Twitter. Hodgkins entered the Capitol building and once inside, remained there about 15 minutes and breached the Senate chamber, walking around the chamber holding a US flag and wearing a Trump t-shirt. Hodgkins received a sentence that fell many months short of the 18-month jail term the Justice Department initially demanded. Hodgkins has also been fined $2000 for damages to the Capitol building that occurred during the riot.
Hodgkins’ case is sure to be a benchmark ruling for the hundreds of other Capitol rioters who are still awaiting trial and sentencing. The judge, District Judge Randolp Moss, explained his decision to the court, explaining how he arrived at the 8 month sentence. In his explanation, he pointed out, “The damage that they caused that day is way beyond the delays that day. It is a damage that will persist in this country for decades.”
He continued, “Hodgkins did some very bad things that day and caused some real damage to this country, but I don’t consider him to be a threat or see him as an evil person. This is a very bad episode in his life and a very bad episode in this country … some sentences will be far higher, and some will be far lower. This is what I believe is a fair sentence.”
Moss’ reasoning could be used as an example for future Capitol rioter cases. As of Tuesday, there are 535 people who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or sentencing, and about 300 suspects who have not yet been identified. 200 of those unidentified, according to the Department of Justice, are being sought after for assaulting police officers on January 6.
Of the 535 who have been arrested, a mere 18 have pleaded guilty so far. Hodgkins was one of them. Hodgkins spoke in court on Monday and told the judge he was remorseful. “I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I am truly remorseful and regretful for my actions in Washington, DC, on January 6. … I say this because of the damage that day’s incident caused and the way this country that I love has been hurt,” Hodgkins said in front of a crowded courtroom. Since his arrest, Hodgkins says he has gotten his COVID-19 vaccine, stopped drinking, and started attending church.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: TIMES OF ISRAEL