Good morning.

Listening in to the first sentencing proceeding for a felony-charged U.S. Capitol breach defendant: Florida man Paul Hodgkins, seen here toting a Trump flag in the Senate.

Follow along here, @lawcrimenews

Background, @Aaron_Keller_…
This is from Hodgkins' statement of offense, signed by the government and the defense.…
Prosecutors want the judge to impose an 18-month sentence, citing the "need to deter others [...] in cases involving domestic terrorism, which the breach of the Capitol certainly was."

Govt sentencing memo:…
We're about to begin.

This is the defense sentencing memo, depicting his client as a target of so-called "cancel culture" and a "post-Christian" society.…
US District Judge Randolph Moss is going through the preliminaries now, including the pre-sentence report.
Judge Moss notes that the statutory maximum on the top count is 20 years in prison.

(Note: Hodgkins is likely to get much less than that, with the prosecution-requested 18 months at the "mid-point" of the guidelines range.)
Hodgkins is expected to speak, according to his lawyer.
Judge rejects Hodgkins' request to be designated a "minor" participant in the offense, noting he went onto the Senate floor.

Hodgkins agreed to pay $2,000 in restitution, the judge notes.
AUSA Mona Sedky is up first, describing three "particularly disturbing" aspects.

1) The goals to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.
2) Intimidation, force, violence and destruction.

Judge Moss interrupts: Govt recognizes he isn't charged with violence, he says.
Sedky: "It's important to view the context of what was unfolding around him and what he was willingly" making himself a part of.

"In terms of the Jan. 6th attack Writ Large, the reason that we're focusing on the larger context here [...] is primarily in the context of general deterrence."

A message needs to be sent to anyone contemplating a "second act," she says.
Sedky says Hodgkins needs to be held into account for his role in "imperiling democracy."

She says he is part of the reason the Senate was evacuated.

"So there was a very meaningful impact to democracy, here," she says.
Judge Moss asks if he's correct in understanding that the Senate was already evacuated by the time Hodgkins entered the building.

"That's correct," Sedky says, agreeing the judge that the damage was the Senate needed to remain evacuated.
Sedky says that Hodgkins' must also be held into account for "emotional injuries" by congressional staffers.

"The staff members who could not evacuate the building" and had to remain in their offices "cowering" were "terrified," she says.

"He was a part of that mob," she says, describing him "hovering in front of Vice President Mike Pence's desk."

"Mr. Hodgkins came prepared for confrontation," she says.

"He proudly posed for selfies and texted those to his friends. He made himself part of the action."

"What Mr. Hodgkins' conduct is not is a 15-minute walk with a crowd through the U.S. Capitol building."

She hits a theme from the government's sentencing memo: the "decision points" where Hodgkins could have turned around but did not.

"He made a key decision to press forward."
Judge Moss: Approximately how many people wound up on the Senate floor?

Sedky: Roughly 30 people, emphasizing that's a rough estimate.
Sedky notes that many of them are removing papers from Senators' desks.

"They're pillaging," Sedky says, referring to the other rioters.
Sedky says she's struggled to find a pithy catch-phrase that would encapsulate what Hodgkins did, but she said the D.C. Circuit found those words.

"This was a grave danger to our democracy," Sedky says, quoting the appellate court.
Sedky says: "Jan. 6th was an act of domestic terrorism," though she adds that the government concedes that Hodgkins' acts in particular do not fall into that definition.
Sedky says Hodgkins attorney said from the start that "My guy" wants to plead guilty and get the benefit of being among the first to do so.
Sedky says a tough sentence must be dealt to prevent a repeat attack, so that "there won't be a next time," she said.
Judge Moss says he's sympathetic to that argument but he needs to consider how this particular case fits into the "larger puzzle."

"I think there are going to be" in the Capitol riot docket "a broad range of sentences," he adds.
Judge Moss adds that he wants to make sure that he is dealing a sentence that specifically applies to Hodgkins.
Defense attorney Patrick Leduc is up for Hodgkins:

He says that it'd be "most appropriate" at this point to have his client deliver his statement first.
Hodgkins up:

"I am very privileged and very humbled to be here in court."

He asks for forgiveness if he comes across as nervous.

"I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I am truly remorseful and regretful of my actions in Washington, D.C."
Hodgkins says he went to Washington, D.C. to support a president he "loved," but he had no intention to storm the Capitol.

"Caught up in an emotional protest," he says, he followed the crowd.

"This was a foolish decision on my part that I take full responsibility for."
Hodgkins declared that "Joseph R. Biden, Jr." is "rightfully and respectfully" the president of the United States.

"To put things in short, I allowed myself to put passion before my principles," which led to him violating the law for the first time in my life.

He says he's stopped drinking alcohol and donated his blood.
His lawyer Patrick Leduc is back up, disputing the government labeling his client a "rioter."

"We don't sentence people collectively. We sentence people individually."

Leduc says we "left that behind" during Japanese-American internment.
Leduc: "Paul Hodgkins is not my enemy."

"It was a protest that became a riot. The government's sentencing memo says that again and again."

He denies that it was "domestic terrorism."
Leduc, an Army colonel deploying tomorrow, adds: "I may be the only one in this courtroom to say that he's been shot at and bombed by real terrorists."

He contrasts it with the Weather Underground, the Oklahoma City bombing, and '54 Capitol shooting by Puerto Rican nationalists.
Judge Moss pushes back on that monologue: "There were people storming through the halls of the Capitol chanting 'Where's Nancy?'"

"That is more than a simple riot," the judge adds.

"That is not an exercise of First Amendment rights by any measure."
Chastened, Leduc backtracks and says that he agrees and suggests there's no daylight between his position and the judge's.

What happened on Jan. 6th was a crime, he adds.
Leduc talks about the fact that his client is the first Capitol riot defendant to be sentenced for a felony in connection with Jan. 6th:

"What an amazing weight has been cast upon this humble, quiet, fine man," Leduc says, referring to his client.
Leduc notes that Anna Morgan-Lloyd got a non-jail sentence. The fact pattern dividing them was that she was at the Rotunda, and he was on the Senate floor.

Moss says: It's more than that.

He pleaded guilty to a felony charge, the judge notes.
Leduc says that his client will wear a "scarlet letter" for his offense.

"He's going to have to carry that with him too, your honor."
Leduc: "How much are we going to nail this man for his 15 minutes of bad judgment, or 22 minutes of bad judgment?"

"We're a nation divided, and we're divided because we lost our way as a country."

He reiterates his "cancel culture" rhetoric.
Leduc: "Never mistake the man for the moment. It's easy to do."

He launches a number of Biblical comparisons for his client, including Moses, describing him as a murderer, and David, describing him an adulterer.
Judge Moss asks whether, if he deals the sentence the defense wants, it will heal the nation or harm it by encouraging others to think they can engage in conduct like this in the future.
Leduc says the prosecutors have given a "wink and a nod" in showing his client's limited role: "They're trying to thread the needle. I get it."
Leduc describes a picture of Hodgkins on the floor of the Senate as one of a “lost soul” and a photo of him at an Easter service as a man who’s “found.”
Judge Moss announces a recess to think about the sentence he is about to impose before delivering it.
We're back.

Judge Moss: I do want to stress from the outset that I'm very focused on sentencing you and not everyone else who was present there on that day.
Judge Moss:

"You carried a large red flag with 'Trump 2020' in red letters," he says, saying that he took selfies and raised the flag in salute.

Although Mr. Hodgkins was only one member of the mob, he participated in an attack on "democracy itself," the judge says.
Judge Moss calls it extraordinary that the mob succeeded in delaying certification.

"They did not like what Congress was about to do," the judge says.

Mr. Hodgkins didn't either.

"That is chilling for many reasons," he says.
Judge Moss:

"It will be harder for all of us to convince our children that democracy stands as the immutable foundation" of this country.

"Those are all enormous harms" caused by the events that day.
Judge Moss on the Jan. 6th siege:

"It left a stain that will remain on us and on this country for years to come."

The judge calls it true—"to a point"—that Hodgkins was less culpable than others.
Judge Moss says that he's "less convinced" that he lost his bearings for a short period of time.

He arrived from Tampa on a bus, with goggles and other gear, suggesting that he came prepared for conflict.
Judge Moss:

"He didn't end up there by curiosity or accident."

"He came to impede the certification of an election and he agreed that he did so."
Judge Moss on Hodgkins wielding the Trump flag near the Senate dais: "The symbol of that act was unmistakable."

He was there declaring his loyalty to a single individual rather than the nation, the judge says.
Judge Moss says that people must know that an attack on the Capitol, even if not bearing arms, carries "severe consequences."
Judge Moss says that he will sentence with a "downward variance" from the sentencing guidelines, but not as dramatic as the defense wants.
Judge imposes an eight-month sentence. Story ahead, @lawcrimenews
The story recapping the thread above:

'More Than a Simple Riot': Florida Man Will Spend Eight Months Behind Bars in First Felony Sentencing for the U.S. Capitol Breach… via @lawcrimenews

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Background, thread…
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Background via @LambeJerry

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This is a transcript.
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