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 an agreement with prosecutors.
Along with hundreds of supporters of former Republican President Donald Trump, Paul Hodgkins, 38, stormed the Capitol on January 6, when lawmakers were in the process of certifying the victory of Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential election.
In photos attached to the case, this long-haired man is seen in the Senate Chamber with what appears to be a balaclava around his neck and a large campaign flag bearing the Republican mogul’s name.
Arrested on February 16 after intelligence investigations, the accused had to face five charges.
“I will accept the offer of the prosecutors and plead guilty to the number one charge,” he said Wednesday at a hearing in federal court 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 19.
The judge explained that, depending on the level of the sentence and in the absence of a record, he would probably be liable to a sentence of between 15 and 21 months in prison.
In exchange for your admission of guilt, the remaining charges are dropped and you will not have to face a jury trial.
A month ago, another participant in the invasion, 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 penalty.
But they are the only ones, among more than 400 people accused, who have reached agreements almost five months after the violence that rocked American democracy.
With information from AFP