Paul Hodgkins, a 38-year-old Florida resident, on Monday, became the first Capital rioter who was charged with a felony. Hodgkins pleaded guilty to breaching the Senate chamber during the US capitol riots. He was sentenced to eight months in prison, CNN reported.
This was a closely watched case as this could set a precedent in handing punishment to the hundreds of the rioters charged with the same felony.
As per CNN, he pleaded guilty last month to obstructing congressional proceedings -- specifically, the counting of the electoral votes, which he helped delay by storming the Senate chamber on January 6.
"He spent about 15 minutes inside, wearing a Donald Trump shirt and carrying a Trump flag," CNN said in its report.
The sentence that the Florida resident received is less than the 1.5-year sentence that the Justice Department had asked for.
According to Federal District Judge Randolph Moss, the 38-year-old made a grave violation towards the democracy of the United States but deserved leniency because he pleaded guilty "exceptionally early" in the process. However, the judge condemned his action.
"He was staking a claim on the floor of the United States Senate, not with the American flag but with a flag declaring his loyalty to a single individual over the entire nation," Moss said.
"When a mob is prepared to attack the Capitol to prevent elected officials from both parties from performing their constitutional and statutory duty, democracy is in trouble ... the damage that they caused that day is way beyond the delays that day. It is a damage that will persist in this country for decades."
Around 550 rioters were charged in the US Capitol riot and the Justice Department said that at least 230 of them were charged with the same felony that Hodgkins pled guilty to.