News & Politics

Another Capitol Protester Takes Loyalty Oath to Joe Biden Before Obama Judge Banishes Him to Prison

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File

On January 6, Paul Hodgkins walked through the open doors of the U.S. Capitol Building, passed Capitol police, walked into the House chamber, took a selfie with the Q Shaman horned guy, and unfurled a Donald Trump flag.

Now, he’s going to federal prison for eight months.

The Huffington Post described the Tampa, Florida, man’s crimes as wholly non-violent. They did not include blinding cops, setting buildings on fire, and attempting to sack the White House, like so many Black Lives Matter and antifa protesters have done without charges.

Hodgkins was never accused of assaulting anyone or damaging property. And prosecutors said he deserves some leniency for taking responsibility almost immediately and pleading guilty to the obstruction charge, which carries a maximum 20-years prison sentence.

But they also noted how he boarded a bus in his hometown of Tampa bound for a Jan. 6 Trump rally carrying rope, protective goggles and latex gloves in a backpack — saying that demonstrated he came to Washington prepared for violence.

On the day, he walked through grounds already littered with smashed police barriers and broken windows, [even] passing police officers and others injured as the crowd surged toward the Capitol, prosecutors said.

“Time and time again, rather than turn around and retreat, Hodgkins pressed forward,” the government filing said.

Besides the prison sentence, what may be most notable about his sentencing on Monday is the loyalty oath he recited before an Obama-appointed judge attesting that Joe Biden is the duly-elected president of the United States of America.

Here were his words, as reported by Julie Kelly of American Greatness:

Joseph R. Biden is rightfully and respectfully the president of the United States.

A previous defendant also recited a loyalty oath to the president, was ordered by her attorney to read a re-education reading list, and forswore any previous wrong thoughts. She was given probation.

Related: Grandma Charged With ‘Parading’ at Capitol Riot Told by Attorney to Denounce White Privilege Before Judge Sentenced Her

It was worth a try, apparently.

But verbally kneeling in fealty to Joe Biden did no good for Hodgkins.

For his actions on January 6, Hodgkins was sentenced to eight months in prison. Prosecutors wanted him locked up for 18 months.

Because he walked through that door and spent 22 minutes of his life in the Capitol, he will spend eight months in prison, lose his rights, and his life will forever be imprinted with the Scarlett Letter, as his attorney, Patrick Leduc, argued.

Leduc told Obama-appointed U.S. District Court Judge Randoph Moss that as an Army reservist, heading back this week for another stint in the sandbox, he’s been shot at by “real terrorists” and doesn’t consider Hodgkins any kind of national security threat.

Words have meaning. I have been shot at by real terrorists. If we’re going to label this as domestic terrorism, where do we draw that line?

Hodgkins is charged with four misdemeanors and one felony count of obstruction of an official proceeding.

Federal prosecutors, doing their best to construct a veneer of “insurrection” and “domestic terrorism” without actually charging defendants with these crimes that they can’t prove, have reimagined a seldom-used charge to leverage against the protesters.

Related: Innocent New York City Man’s Life Is Ruined When Neighbors Report Him for Going to Jan 6 Trump Speech

Kelly reports that the one felony obstruction charge – meant as a white-collar crime law –  has been added to misdemeanor cases against 200 defendants to pressure plea deals and get prison time for the protesters.

Kelly writes that during the sentencing hearing Monday, the judge at times sounded like a petulant teenaged girl.

The Obama appointee at times sounded more dramatic than the average pre-teen girl. The circumstances of the Capitol breach are so beyond the pale, Moss claimed, that there is no equal—including the weeks-long protests against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, which Patrick Leduc raised in court. “There is no existing benchmark. This case defies comparison to other obstruction cases.” (None of the more than 200 activists arrested during the Kavanaugh protests was charged with obstruction of an official proceeding.)

Moss seemed particularly offended that Hodgkins carried a Trump flag into the well of the Senate and hoisted the rebel flag in the air at one point. “The symbolism of that act is unmistakable. He was staking a claim on the Senate floor, declaring his loyalty to a single individual over a nation.”

Outspoken Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene says the conditions under which these political prisoners are being held are worse than the cells for criminal aliens being held at the border.

I think it’s outrageous and I have no problem saying that these January sixth defendants are being treated like political prisoners of war.

Kelly reports that every night at 9 p.m., the locked-up political prisoners sing “The Star Spangled Banner.”

She says they do it to keep up their spirits as the months and months drag on before their cases can even go to trial.

There are bad actors sitting in jail who need to answer for whatever crimes they committed, so stipulated. But trespassers remain locked up because they’re too dangerous to set free before trial… or something.

That’s a damn shame.