Government seeks 18-month prison sentence for Tampa man’s role in Capitol attack

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa man could become one of the first people in the nation to go to prison for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The government is asking the court to sentence Paul Hodgkins to 18 months in prison after he pled guilty in early June to obstruction of an official proceeding. Federal guidelines called for a sentence between 15 and 21 months.

“Hodgkins has admitted that he knew that he did not have permission to enter the Capitol building and that he acted with the intent to corruptly obstruct, influence, and impede an official proceeding, that is, Congress’s certification of the Electoral College vote,” Acting U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips wrote in the government sentencing memorandum filed Wednesday.

After joining the mob of former President Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol, Hodgkins took a selfie inside the Senate chamber.

Credit: FBI

Prosecutors say he was at the dais 40 minutes after Vice President Mike Pence had been at that elevated platform.

While prosecutors say he did not engage in violence or property destruction, they argue he came prepared for violence, having brought a first aid kit with him.

After entering the plea deal in early June, Hodgkins’ defense attorney Patrick Leduc told 8 On Your Side his client got caught up in the frenzy but now has taken responsibility for his actions.

Credit: FBI

“People don’t take selfies of themselves if they think they’re doing something at that moment that may be criminal,” Leduc said. “He’s stood up and said, ‘I’m not making any excuses. What happened was wrong and I’m wrong.’ He’s pled guilty.”

The government memorandum says like every other rioter, Hodgkins contributed to the “collective threat to democracy.”

“Members of this Court have similarly described it as “a singular and chilling event in U.S. history, raising legitimate concern about the security—not only of the Capitol building—but of our democracy itself,” the government memorandum said.

Hodgkins will be sentenced in DC federal court on Monday.

He is one of at least 55 Floridians to be arrested and charged in connection to the Department of Justice and FBI investigation into the Capitol riot and insurrection.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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