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Capitol rioter sentenced to eight months in prison

Paul Hodgkins is the first Capitol rioter to receive a felony sentence.

Capitol Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A rioter involved in the Capitol insurrection was sentenced to prison. As CNN reported, U.S. District Court Judge Randolph Moss ordered 38-year-old Paul Hodgkins to eight months behind bars for his role in the riots.

“Although you were only one member of a larger mob, you actively participated in a larger event that threatened the Capitol and democracy itself,” he said during a court hearing on Monday (July 19). “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.”

Hodgkins — a resident of Tampa, Florida — was one of many Trump supporters who raided the US Capitol to contest Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election. He was arrested in February after a tip identified him in footage from the incident. Last month, he pleaded guilty to one felony count of obstructing congressional proceeding.

On Monday, after Moss’ announcement, Hodgkins expressed regret for participating in the riots. “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 said. He maintained that he did not engage in acts of violence but acknowledged the effects of his presence in the building.

“I realize that my involvement did still contribute to the greater problem that took place,” Hodgkins said. “The company of us who remained calmer in our protests may have made others feel emboldened.”

Hodgkins’ eight-month sentence falls short of the punishment prosecutors initially recommended. During the hearing, they pushed for the rioter to receive a one and a half-year sentence because they believed that it would serve as a warning to “people who may be contemplating a second act.” Moss, however, rejected the idea and decided to be lenient following Hodgkins’ apology and guilty plea.

Hodgkins is the first rioter to receive a felony sentence and the third rioter to be sentenced in general. Despite Moss’ rejection of a lengthier sentence, the Florida resident has the longest punishment so far.

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