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Trump supporter who attacked US Capitol becomes first to spend eight months in prison

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Trump supporter who attacked US Capitol becomes first to spend eight months in prison
Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Paul Allard Hodgkins has been arrested as the first of hundreds of suspected rioters facing criminal charges in connection with the Capitol uprising.

The 38-year-old claimed he was embarrassed of his conduct on January 6, and he later apologised.

Speaking from a prepared text, he described being caught up in the euphoria as he walked down Washington’s most famous avenue, then followed a crowd of hundreds up Capitol Hill and into the Capitol building.

“If I had any idea that the protest… would escalate (the way) it did… I would never have ventured farther than the sidewalk of Pennsylvania Avenue,” he told the judge.

He added: “This was a foolish decision on my part.”

Prosecutors had asked for Hodgkins to serve 18 months behind bars, saying in a recent filing that he, “like each rioter, contributed to the collective threat to democracy” by forcing politicians to temporarily abandon their certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory over President Donald Trump and to scramble for shelter from incoming mobs.

His sentencing could set the bar for punishments of hundreds of other defendants as they decide whether to accept plea deals or go to trial.

He and others are accused of serious crimes but were not indicted, as some others were, for roles in larger conspiracies.

Under an agreement with prosecutors, Hodgkins, who is from Florida, pleaded guilty last month to one count of obstructing an official proceeding, which carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop lesser charges, including entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct.

His lawyer argued that Hodgkins’ actions were not markedly different from those of Anna Morgan Lloyd, other than Hodgkins stepping onto the Senate floor.

The 49-year-old from Indiana was the first of roughly 500 arrested to be sentenced.

She pleaded guilty to misdemeanour disorderly conduct and last month was sentenced to three years of probation.

Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images