Tampa man to take plea deal in Jan. 6 attack on U.S. Capitol

·3 min read

A 38-year-old Tampa man who federal authorities say joined a far-right mob that stormed the Capitol and attacked police officers on Jan. 6 in an attempt to disrupt certifying the presidential election is set to take a plea deal.

Paul Allard Hodgkins is set to appear before U.S. District Judge Randolph D. Moss in a virtual plea hearing that will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, according to court records.

Hodgkins is one of more than 400 defendants from across the country who have been charged in connection with the Capitol riot and are being tried in the District of Columbia. Prosecutors have reportedly started offering plea deals to rioters.

Tampa defense attorney Patrick Leduc, who is representing Hodgkins, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office offered his client the chance to plead guilty to one charge and dismiss the other four.However, the attorney did not say what the sentencing range was.

A judge will decide Hodgkins’ punishment at a July sentencing hearing, the attorney said.

A federal grand jury indicted Hodgkins on charges of obstruction of an official proceeding, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol Building and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol Building.

Leduc said his client has been working and volunteering since his arrest and does not make excuses for participating in the Jan. 6 riot.

“He’s the kind of guy that our city is lucky to have,” Leduc said.

Hodgkins, who lives in Sulphur Springs, was arrested Feb. 16 on federal charges after FBI agents said they identified him in photos and video footage taken of rioters inside the U.S. Capitol Building. He posted $25,000 bail and was freed soon after his arrest.

The FBI said it received a confidential tip from someone who knew Hodgkins and passed along a photo from a friend of a friend obtained on social media site Parler that appeared to show Hodgkins in the Capitol, according to a document filed by an agent who investigated the case.

An FBI agent compared the photo to Hodgkins’ driver’s license and believed he was the same man, according to court records. The selfie appears to show Hodgkins wearing protective eye goggles under his chin and a “Trump” t-shirt.

The FBI said it also used video footage from the New Yorker magazine, which appeared to show Hodgkins in the well of the Senate chamber wearing the Trump t-shirt, a dark undershirt and leather arm bands. The video appears to shows him holding a red “Trump 2020″ flag with white lettering and standing next to an elevated desk where rioters cheered, shouted and prayed using a bullhorn, according to court records.

CCTV footage from the Capitol on Jan. 6 also showed Hodgkins in the Senate Chambers, according to the FBI, and at one point he appeared to put on latex gloves while standing near a desk with a pile of papers on it.

The FBI said it interviewed Hodgkins on Jan. 26, and that he told agents he was the person in the photographs the agency obtained and was inside the Capitol Building on Jan. 6.

He told investigators he traveled to Washington D.C. by himself on bus. Hodgkins said he saw rioters break windows, saw a knife fight and saw people injured, but said he did not know those people or take part in the violence and vandalism, according to court records.

After he was freed from jail, Hogkins was required to give up his firearms and passport, stay in Florida and away from Washington D.C., wear a GPS ankle monitor and obey a curfew.