Florida man pleads guilty to charges in Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Pro-Trump rioters breach the security perimeter and penetrate the U.S. Capitol to protest against the Electoral College vote count to certify President-elect Joe Biden as the winner in Washington, D.C. Jan. 6. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI

June 2 (UPI) — A Florida man pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges related to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Paul Allard Hodgkins, 38, pleaded guilty to a single count of obstruction of an official proceeding in exchange for prosecutors agreeing to drop four other misdemeanor charges related to his presence during the riots.

Federal sentencing guidelines indicate Hodgkins could receive a prison sentence of between 15 months and 21 months, and a fine of $7,500 to $75,000 for the obstruction charge as well as a $2,000 restitution fine.

Hodgkins was arrested on Feb. 16 after FBI agents said they were able to identify him in pictures and video footage taken at the Capitol on Jan. 6 after receiving a confidential tip.

Video showed Hodgkins inside the well of the Senate chamber, waving a red “Trump 2020” flag and putting on latex gloves while standing near a pile of papers on a desk in the chamber.

In an interview with the FBI, Hodgkins confirmed that he was the man in the photos and videos and that he took a bus from Florida to Washington, D.C.

He said he did not participate in breaking windows or fighting inside the Capitol building and added that he put on the gloves to provide aid to a man who was bleeding from an injury on the Senate floor.

Hodgkins is the second person to plead guilty to charges related to the riots after Jon Schaffer — a member of the far-right group the Oath Keepers who was seen on camera spraying chemical bear spray at officers — pleaded guilty to unlawfully entering the Capitol and obstructing a congressional proceeding.

Also prosecutors on Tuesday requested to drop charges against Christopher Kelly of New York who was accused of entering the Capitol and obstructing Congress.

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