The first person to be jailed for playing a part in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots was seen emotionally saying goodbye to his girlfriend just a day after admitting his guilt in court.
Both Paul Hodgkins and the unidentified woman appeared on the verge of tears as he left his home in Tampa, Florida, 24 hours after he received news that he is serving a prison sentence.
Hodgkins, a 38-year-old crane operator, was back home after his Washington DC hearing, where he admitted to committing a crime for obstructing official proceedings — Congressional certification of Joe Biden’s election as president.
He was sentenced to eight months in prison and ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution. Prosecutors had demanded 18 months, his defense demanded no jail time. The maximum sentence was 20 years.
In exchange for his admission of guilt, the prosecutors dropped charges of entering a prohibited building and disorderly conduct.
Paul Hodgkins pleaded guilty to obstructing official proceedings for the January 6 storming of the Capitol
DailyMail.com saw Hodgkins and an unidentified woman on the brink of tears as he left his home in Tampa, Florida
Hodgkins was seen emotionally saying goodbye to his girlfriend just a day after admitting his guilt in court
The unidentified woman, seen in a floral sundress, appeared emotional as she and Hodgkins broke up
Hodgkins wore a black T-shirt advertising Steadfast Brand, a clothing company specializing in “tattoo art” clothing
Massachusetts-born Hodgkins was seen leaving his modest rental home in Tampa’s working-class Sulfur Springs neighborhood and driving off in his white Ford truck, adorned with decals for two separate NFL teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New England Patriots, as well as the American flag.
Hodgkins took a selfie in the US Senate after breaking through the building wearing a ‘Trump 2020’ shirt
He was wearing a black T-shirt advertising Steadfast Brand, a clothing company specializing in tattoo art clothing. His girlfriend was wearing a floral summer dress.
Hodgkins is not expected to serve his sentence for another 60 days, his attorney Paul Leduc told DailyMail.com. While nothing is set in stone, he will likely serve his time at Coleman Penitentiary, a high-security federal prison 60 miles north of Tampa.
At Monday’s hearing, Hodgkins said he was ashamed of his actions on Jan. 6 and said he got caught up in the excitement of the moment.
“Had I had any idea that the protest… was going to escalate (as it did…) I would never have gone beyond the Pennsylvania Avenue sidewalk,” he told Judge Randolph Moss.
“This was a foolish decision on my part.”
But the government file argued that he could have stopped before entering the Capitol. “Time and time again, instead of turning and pulling back, Hodgkins pushed forward,” it read.
Hodgkins had traveled alone by bus from Tampa to Washington, carrying a rope, goggles and latex gloves — proving that he was prepared for violence, according to prosecutors. He was pictured in the Senate Chamber wearing the goggles and gloves.
At the time, he wore a full beard, although now he is clean-shaven. He still has his shoulder-length hair tied up in a ponytail when he left his house.
Video footage shows Hodgkins in the Senate wearing a Trump 2020 T-shirt and an American flag slung over his shoulder. He took a selfie with bare-chested ‘QAnon shaman’ Jacob Chansley wearing a horned helmet.
Hodgkins has no criminal record and was not charged with assaulting anyone or damaging any property in the Capitol.
In this image from the US Capitol Police video, Hodgkins stands in the pit on the floor of the US Senate on January 6. Hodgkins was sentenced Monday to eight months in prison
Hodgkins apologized for his actions during the riot. He said he was ashamed of his actions and claimed he got caught up in the excitement of the moment
Hodgkins, pictured in the US Senate chamber on Jan. 6, pleaded guilty in June to one time he obstructed official proceedings
Leduc told DailyMail.com that while he was happy the judge gave him less than half the recommended sentence, he is concerned about his client’s future.
“This is a man who has made an error of judgment,” the lawyer said. “He followed the crowd. How many children have done that?’
“He acknowledged very early that he had made a mistake and the prosecution admitted it.
But now he has been sentenced to eight months in prison. He’ll probably be out in four or five, but then what? Will he have a job to go to? Does he still have a house to live in?
“People say he should have been given 10 years. In a way that was perhaps more merciful. Right now, he’s trying to figure out what his employers are going to do to him.
“It could be financially devastating for him.”
Leduc described Hodgkins as a hardworking high school graduate who lives paycheck to paycheck in one of Tampa’s lowest-income neighborhoods. He said he was an Eagle Scout who regularly volunteers at a food bank.
A clean-shaven Hodgkins is seen leaving court on Monday after the hearing
Records show that his one-bedroom apartment was last listed for rent at $775 a month.
He was a registered independent until the 2018 midterm elections when he became a Republican. He benefited from early voting in both the 2018 and 2020 elections.
The Justice Department believes Hodgkins’ conviction could set a bar for others involved in the Capitol uprising. In a file calling for an 18-month jail term, U.S. Special Attorney Mona Sedky wrote: “The need to deter others is especially strong in cases involving domestic terrorism, which is certainly the violation of the Capitol Building.” used to be.’
She also urged Judge Moss to acknowledge that the beliefs of people involved in the attack on Congress “make them unique among criminals in the likelihood of recidivism.”
So far, about 500 people have been charged for their part in the riots, and a further 100 charges are expected