Florida man pleads guilty in Capitol riot case; second suspect to enter plea in massive inquiry

A Florida man who was pictured carrying a Trump flag on the Senate floor during the Capitol riot pleaded guilty Wednesday for his role in the deadly assault, the second suspect to enter a plea in the far-reaching investigation.

Paul Hodgkins pleaded guilty to a lone count of obstructing a government proceeding, one of five criminal charges initially lodged against him though none of the charges involved violent conduct.

“I will accept this plea offer,” Hodgkins said during a brief virtual court hearing in which U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss set sentencing for July 19.

Hodgkins, 38, faces a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison, but prosecutors recommended a reduced sentence because of his cooperation with authorities and a clean criminal record.

Supporters of President Donald Trump scale the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo: Jose Luis Magana, AP)

The Tampa man has been free on bond while his case was pending.

During the hearing, Hodgkins acknowledged that he was not permitted to enter the Capitol where he joined the mob that sought to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s election.

One of more than 400 suspects swept up in the federal riot investigation, Hodgkins is only the second to enter a guilty plea.

In April, Jon Schaffer a member of the Oath Keepers extremist group pleaded guilty to obstruction and an additional count of remaining in a restricted building with a deadly weapon.

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