An American accused of participating in the invasion of the Capitol, the seat of Congress, pleaded guilty before a Washington judge on Wednesday, becoming the second participant in the incident to reach a settlement with prosecutors.
Along with hundreds of supporters of former Republican President Donald Trump, 38-year-old Paul Hodgkins stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, as lawmakers were certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
In the photos attached to the case, this long-haired man is seen in the Senate Chamber with what appears to be a ski mask around his neck and a large campaign flag bearing the name of the Republican magnate.
Arrested on Feb. 16 after intelligence investigations, the defendant had to face five charges.
“I will accept the prosecutors’ offer and plead guilty to count one,” he said Wednesday at a federal court hearing in Washington.
This charge is “obstruction of official procedures” and is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The sentence will be set on July 19th.
The judge explained that, depending on the level of the sentence and in the absence of a background, he would likely face a sentence of 15 to 21 months in prison.
In exchange for your admission of guilt, the remaining charges will be dropped and you will not have to face a jury trial.
A month ago, another invasion participant, Jon Schaffer, also agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with investigators against the small right-wing group Oath Keepers, of which he was a founding member, in exchange for a lighter sentence.
But they are the only ones, among more than 400 defendants, who reached agreements nearly five months after the violence that shook American democracy.
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