As hundreds of his fellow MAGA rioters stormed all corners of the Capitol on Jan. 6, Paul Hodgkins headed straight for the Senate chamber.
Right after strolling between the desks after inhabited by lawmakers certifying the presidential election—before remaining compelled into hiding—the 38-year-outdated Florida gentleman took off his protective eye goggles and snapped a selfie just before signing up for his fellow insurrectionists.
That photograph led to Hodgkins’ February arrest immediately after an acquaintance tipped off the FBI—and his eventual selection to strike a plea deal with prosecutors. Now, his protection attorneys are arguing their “kind” consumer does not should have jail time for his one felony rely.
And in an unreal change of occasions, his attorneys are arguing that a lenient sentence on July 19 for the Tampa resident would truly “heal” the country.
“This situation is the story of a person who signifies all that we would want in our fellow Us residents,” defense legal professional Patrick Leduc argued in a sentencing memo to Decide Randolph D. Moss. “It is the story of [a] gentleman who for just just one hour on 1 working day, missing his bearings and his way.”
“A sentence that supplies Paul Hodgkins ‘charity’ would go a extremely very long way towards healing a country in dire need of seeing what undeserved ‘grace’ appears like,” Leduc included.
The claim is among the a series of head-scratching arguments produced in the 32-web site sentencing memo, including the declaration that “Hodgkins ought to not be cancelled.”
Hodgkins’ sentencing would be just the next instance of an insurrectionist being punished for the incursion—among roughly 500 who have been charged in link with Jan. 6. Previous thirty day period, Anna Morgan-Lloyd was sentenced to 3 yrs of probation after pleading responsible to one misdemeanor depend for storming the Capitol with a close friend she referred to the riot as the “best day ever” on social media.
Morgan-Lloyd’s light-weight sentence opened the doorway to the possibility that equally accused insurrectionists who strike up a offer with prosecutors may possibly not see jail time—which Hodgkins’ authorized team seized upon.
“How this Court docket deals with Paul Hodgkins can stand as a image of what we are and, in the event ‘charity’ is presented, what President Lincoln hoped we would normally be: A nation that forgives, presents undeserved grace, and restoration that encourages healing,” Leduc reported.
Federal suggestions for the 1 rely of obstructing an formal proceeding state Hodgkins could face a sentence of up to 21 months in jail and a fantastic of $250,000. Nevertheless, as part of his plea arrangement, Hodgkins has previously agreed to pay $2,000 in restitution and cooperate with federal prosecutors in their ongoing investigation into the riot.
“This is an absolutely horrible argument.”
— Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahman
Previous federal prosecutor Neama Rahman believes that arguments laid out by Hodgkins’ legal staff “defy all logic.”
“This is an absolutely awful argument,” Rahman explained to The Every day Beast on Friday. “To increase an argument like this is not only lawfully frivolous but might piss off a federal decide.”
He added that judges are taught to base each and every sentencing solely on the “facts and circumstances of the case” and not about the “emotional things or huge implications of what their selection could possibly imply.” “These lawyers know that, so asking a decide to consider to heal America with sentencing goes towards everything a decide is meant to do,” he stated.
Prosecutors state Hodgkins—sporting a Trump flag, “Trump 2020” shirt, and a backpack with goggles and latex gloves—entered the Capitol around 2:50 p.m. along with a slew of other rioters. Some 10 minutes later, he entered the Senate chamber and eventually snapped a “selfie-style” photograph with his cell cellphone.
He then “walked down to the Senate very well, where he stood adjacent to an elevated desk and system,” prosecutors condition in a legal complaint. “A few toes absent, quite a few other men and women were shouting, praying, and commanding the awareness of other individuals in the Senate chamber.”
Hodgkins walked in excess of to be part of the group, which included self-explained “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley, right before boosting “his flag in salute.” He was arrested about a month afterwards.
Due to the fact his arrest, his lawful team contends in the sentencing memo, Hodgkins has been subjected to the “scarlet letter that numerous of his fellow citizens will compel him to wear” even nevertheless they declare he is only guilty of a misguided slip-up that wasn’t violent or premeditated. Despite the general public backlash, Leduc wrote, his shopper has ongoing to perform 40 hrs a week at MiTek Industries in Tampa, Florida, and execute hours of unpaid group service.
Leduc also pointed out that even though Hodgkins does not have a legal heritage and confirmed “courage and toughness of character” to plead guilty, he has been subjected to the societal “pull amongst grace and vengeance”—referencing Confederate soldiers right after the Civil war.
“This Courtroom stands in the shadows of Lincoln and Grant. The rebellion of the south did not have earned the ‘grace’ that Lincoln and Grant would present. But the malice and humiliation that many may possibly have sought would not heal the nation as equally Lincoln and Grant fully recognized,” the memo states.
In a assertion to The Everyday Beast, Leduc mentioned Hodgkins’ sentencing is about “how all of ‘us’ are likely to start dealing with each other” after the insurrection.
“We have turn into a nation trying to get to cancel every single other out. We are all standing their [sic] with stones, ready to toss them, ignoring…our have hypocrisy,” the defense lawyer reported, adding that “our country is so hectic attempting to re-compose history….possibly my sentencing memo will serve as a reminder of who we should all try to be. With malice towards none, and Charity for all.”