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January 6 US Capital Riot Participant Gets 8-Month Sentence

FILE - In this image from U.S. Capitol Police video, Paul Allard Hodgkins of Tampa, Florida, front, stands in the well on the floor of the U.S. Senate at the Capitol in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.

A Tampa, Florida, man who participated in the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot will spend eight months in prison after he was sentenced for a felony charge stemming from the incident.

Prosecutors had sought an 18-month sentence for 38-year-old Paul Allard Hodgkins.

Hodgkins, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, made his way into the Senate chamber as President Joe Biden’s election win was being certified.

Hodgkins was never accused of assault or property damage but pleaded guilty last month to obstructing an official proceeding.

“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,” Hodgkins told the judge, according to The Associated Press, adding, “This was a foolish decision on my part.”

His lawyer characterized his participation as “the story of a man who for just one hour on one day lost his bearings ... who made a fateful decision to follow the crowd."

Prosecutors said that instead of turning around once inside the Capitol, Hodgkins “pressed forward” and characterized his actions as a “grave danger to our democracy.”

More than 500 people were charged with various crimes related to the attack, with 165 accused of assaulting or impeding police officers, according to the Justice Department.

Some information in this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.