Prison Requested for Capitol Rioter Who Carried Trump Flag into Senate Chamber

Prison Requested for Capitol Rioter Who Carried Trump Flag into Senate Chamber


















Pro protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.  (Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

Prosecutors are asking the court to impose a prison sentence for a man who pleaded guilty last month for his involvement in the Capitol riot, citing a need to deter “domestic terrorism” cases, The Washington Post reports.

Paul Allard Hodgkins, a 38-year-old crane operator from Tampa, pleaded guilty to obstructing an official proceeding last month. The maximum possible penalty for the charge is 20 years in prison, but as part of his plea agreement, Hodgkins’ recommended sentence is between 15 and 21 months, according to CBS News

“The need to deter others is especially strong in cases involving domestic terrorism, which the breach of the Capitol certainly was,” reads a government sentencing request from Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mona Sedky, who noted that FBI Director Christopher Wray testified in March before the Senate, saying homegrown violent extremism is “metastasizing” in the United States, and that the Capitol riot had encouraged some people.

Sedky also requested that the judge take into account past filings with the court showing that although some convicted individuals who do not have a criminal history have views that cause them to be “unique among criminals in the likelihood of recidivism.”

Hodgkins “entered the Senate chamber, walked among the desks, and then removed eye goggles. He took a 'selfie-style' photograph with his cell phone and walked down the Senate well where, a few feet away, several individuals were shouting, praying and cheering using a bullhorn,” according to the Department of Justice. “Hodgkins walked toward the individuals and remained standing with them while they continued commanding the attention of others.”

The Justice Department identified Hodgkins after the FBI received a tip from someone who new him personally several years ago.

If sentenced to imprisonment, Hodgkins would be the first defendant involved in the Capitol riot to serve time in prison. The only other Capitol riot defendant to enter a guilty plea, Jon Schaffer, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and received a reduced recommended sentence. 

Hodgkins’ attorney, Patrick Leduc, told CBS that he hopes the sentencing hearing scheduled for Monday will help his client.

"There is something to be said about being the first person to stand up," he said, noting that he’d hopeful the judge will think about his clients conduct after the riot. "Obviously, the DOJ is going to talk about January 6, and I'm going to talk about Paul.”

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