By: Teddy Grant
One of the men who breached the U.S. Capitol in January during the insurrection was sentenced to eight months in prison on Monday, according to CNN.
Florida’s Paul Hodgkins pleaded guilty last month to obstructing congressional proceedings on Jan. 6, which was the same day that Congress counted the electoral votes. He was pictured inside the Senate chamber, wearing a Donald Trump shirt.
He is the first Capitol rioter to be convicted of a felony.
The Department of Justice sought a year and a half prison sentence for Hodgkins, saying that the attack on the Capitol “was an act of domestic terrorism.” Mona Sedky, a prosecutor in the case, said that the prison sentence would “send a loud and clear message to other would-be rioters that, if and when they’re caught, they will be held accountable … people who might be contemplating a sequel to Jan. 6 will stand down, and there won’t be a next time.”
The judge disagreed with the recommended sentencing, saying that because he pleaded guilty “exceptionally early” and apologized that he would grant some leniency, CNN reported.
“I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I am truly remorseful and regretful for my actions in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 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 court.
He added that he accepted that President Joe Biden won the election, started going to church and took the COVID-19 vaccine, according to CNN.
“Hodgkins was staking a claim on the floor of the United States Senate, not with the American flag but with a flag declaring his loyalty to a single individual over the entire nation,” said District Judge Randolph Moss. “When a mob is prepared to attack the Capitol to prevent elected officials from both parties from performing their constitutional and statutory duty, democracy is in trouble.”
According to reports, 20 people involved in the Capitol riot have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.