American News Jul 19, 2021 3:37 PM EST

Florida man sentenced to 8 months for 'entering the Capitol to obstruct Congress' on Jan 6

Paul Allard Hodgkins, 38, pled guilty to the charge on June 2. He has no prior criminal history and engaged in no violence while in the capitol.

Florida man sentenced to 8 months for 'entering the Capitol to obstruct Congress' on Jan 6
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A man from Tampa, Florida is the first person involved in the January 6 storming of the Capitol to be sentenced for a felony. The charge is one felony count of "entering the Capitol to obstruct Congress."

"Although you were only one member of a larger mob, you actively participated in a larger event that threatened the Capitol and democracy itself," said US District Court Judge Randolph Moss.

He was sentenced to 8 months in prison for the crime, which he pled guilty to on June 2.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, prosecutors are asking for an 18-month prison terms for 38-year-old Paul Allard Hodgkins. Hodgkins has no prior criminal history and engaged in no violence while in the capitol.

Patrick Leduc, Hodgkin's lawyer, said that Hodgkins should not is a "law abiding, hardworking, honest, caring, kind, thoughtful, generous, and the kind of person you would want for a neighbor."

Leduc said that on January 6, he "lost his bearings and his way ... made a fateful decision to follow the crowd, and found himself for approximately 15 minutes in a place that he sincerely regrets to have been."

Hodgkins told the judge "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."

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

"The need to deter others is especially strong in cases involving domestic terrorism, which the breach of the Capitol certainly was," Special Assistant US Attorney Mona Sedky said in the sentencing request.

Prosecutors stated in a filing that Hodgkins "contributed to the collective threat to democracy" when he and others interrupted the certification of the 2020 election in congress on January 6. The vote proceeded later that day.

Footage shows Hodgkins inside the Senate chamber on January 6, wearing a Trump 2020 t-shirt, eye goggles around his neck, and carrying a Trump flag.

The sentencing could set the bar for the sentencing of hundreds of other people who illegally breached the capitol building on January 6.

According to federal sentencing guidelines, Hodgkins, who has remained free since his arrest, should face between 15 and 21 months in prison.

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