By Sarah N. Lynch and Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Florida man became the second person so far to plead guilty on Wednesday for his role in the Jan.6 assault on the U.S. Capitol after entering the Senate chamber dressed in a T-shirt. Trump and waving a red flag. It said “Trump 2020”.
In a virtual hearing at the United States District Court in Washington, Paul Allard Hodgkins pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of official proceeding.
“I have decided that I will accept this plea offer and plead guilty,” Hodgkins told the judge.
The charge can carry a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, although Federal District Judge Randolph Moss said federal sentencing guidelines call for a sentence in the range of 15 to 21 months.
More than 440 people have been indicted in connection with the Capitol riots, in which crowds of supporters of former Republican President Donald Trump entered the Capitol in a failed attempt to prevent Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the election. presidential.
Few guilty pleas have been filed so far https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-capitol-arrests-pleas-idCAKCN2D211H since the Justice Department launched its extensive investigation into the deadly attack on Capitol Hill, in a sign that prosecutors are making a tough deal.
The only other person to have pleaded guilty so far was Jon Schaffer, founder of the Iced Earth gang and a founding member of the far-right militia Oath Keepers.
Schaffer pleaded guilty in April https://reut.rs/3pcrVxQ to obstructing an official procedure and violating a restricted building.
Wednesday’s hearing came at the same time that Christopher M. Kelly, another defendant in the Capitol riot cases, had dropped all charges against him after evidence came to light that he had never set foot inside. of the building.
Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui’s decision marks the first time a defendant in the Capitol riot cases has been acquitted of all charges, and it comes after a paid confidential source helped the FBI build the case using information. from Kelly’s Facebook account (NASDAQ :).
“He never entered the Capitol on January 6 and that is precisely what he told the government before he was arrested,” his attorney, Edward MacMahon Jr., said in a statement.
A representative from the Justice Department previously declined to comment on the case.
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