Federal prosecutors are attempting to pursue harsher sentences for those arrested for non-violent crimes in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by branding them as terrorists while acknowledging their actions don’t meet the legal definition of terrorism.
Court documents first flagged by independent journalist Michael Tracey from the case of Paul Hodgkins, the first Jan. 6 rioter convicted of a felony to be sentenced, show U.S. Attorney Mona Sedky saying that “we are framing this in the context of domestic terrorism,” even though his actions do not meet any legal definition of terrorism.
“January 6th was an act of domestic terrorism,” Sedky said at Hodgkins’ sentencing hearing. “And we concede that Mr. Hodgkins himself is not under the legal definition a domestic terrorist, we’re not assuming he is. But he was part and parcel of an act of domestic terrorism that was going on around him, and that context is relevant when the Court is deciding how to sentence him.”
“So back to the need for deterrence and why we’re framing this in the context of domestic terrorism is because the need to effectuate general deterrence is really almost never higher. It’s especially, especially strong in the context of cases involving domestic terrorism. And the guidelines themselves recognize this need for sort of enhanced care and enhanced punishment,” Sedky continued.
“The rioters caused four different kinds of injuries. And we agree that Mr. Hodgkins himself didn’t cause each of these types of injuries, but he was certainly involved in the first type of injury, which is imperiling democracy,” the prosecutor concluded. (RELATED: ‘The Facts Are Torture’: Attorney For Capitol Rioter Derails His Own CNN Interview) Hodgkins was seen on video footage entering the Senate chamber on Jan. 6 wearing a Trump T-shirt and carrying an American flag. He took a selfie with the self-described QAnon Shaman, who is also awaiting trail for participating in the Capitol riot, before leaving the building. He was not charged with any violent crimes. After being convicted of a felony offense, Hodgkins was sentenced Monday to eight months in prison.