Capitol Rioter's Attorney Calls January 6 Insurrection 'Not Defensible'

After his client was sentenced to eight months in prison for his role in the Capitol riot, Patrick Leduc encouraged others to plead guilty because there's no way to defend their actions on January 6.

Paul Hodgkins, who pleaded guilty in June to obstructing congressional proceedings, became the first Capitol rioter to be sentenced for a felony on Monday. The eight months he received was less than the 18 months the Department of Justice wanted to see, but Judge Randolph Moss saw him as deserving of leniency because of his guilty plea and "sincere apology."

"If you want to go in there and you want to defend that, that's not defensible," Leduc told reporters after leaving the courthouse. "I'm sorry. I would say that to all of them that were there. They need to come in, they need to step up, they need to accept responsibility and do what Paul did."

capitol riot not defensible defendants
Patrick Leduc, who represented Paul Hodgkins, encouraged other Capitol rioters to plead guilty and take responsibility because their actions are "not defensible." Crowds gather outside the U.S. Capitol for the "Stop the Steal" rally on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C. Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images/Reuters

A selfie photo captured Hodgkins on the Senate floor during the Capitol riot, which claimed the lives of five people. Other footage from that day also shows him on the Senate floor holding a "Trump 2020" flag and he admitted to being the person in the photos investigators showed him from that day.

In asking the judge to be lenient with his client, Leduc pointed out it was the first time he'd been in trouble with the law and was, in general, a law-abiding, hardworking citizen save that "one hour" on Jan. 6 when he "lost his bearings and his way."

Prosecutors, however, painted Hodgkins as a participant in an "act of domestic terror," and urged the judge to use a stern sentence to send a message to other defendants. Leduc pushed back, calling it "gaslighting" to refer to the January 6 riot as "domestic terrorism" since no one's been charged with terrorism.

Hodgkins apologized for his actions that may have "emboldened" others to engage in even more destructive behaviors and called participating a "foolish decision" on his part. Although he referred to former President Donald Trump as a president he loved, he told Moss he acknowledged President Joe Biden is the leader of the country.

After the hearing, Leduc characterized his client as a "man who screwed up" and said he understood the judge's decision. Instead of villainizing Hodgkins, he asked people to give him grace and ventured that it's possible his client did something "honorable" that could help the country move forward.