Paul Hodgkins, a Florida resident and Capitol rioter who pleaded guilty earlier this year to a single felony charge of obstruction of an official proceeding, is now seeking to have the date when he surrenders to authorities for his prison sentence delayed, as he pushes what reporter Zoe Tillman identifies as an “ineffective assistance of counsel claim” regarding his former lawyer. The Justice Department has now proclaimed its opposition to Hodgkins’s request, arguing (as summarized by Tillman) that Hodgkins “had plenty of notice of what he was getting into when he took a plea deal and that he’s unlikely to win an ineffective assistance of counsel [argument] now.”
Hodgkins was sentenced to eight months behind bars, and at present, the date when he’s supposed to surrender to authorities to begin that sentence is September 20 — next week. In their filing opposing Hodgkins’s request for a delay in his surrender date — which he wants to move out to no earlier than January 20 of next year — the Justice Department insisted that Hodgkins had ‘failed to establish circumstances making his case for release “exceptional and deserving of special treatment in the interests of justice.”‘ It’s not yet clear how Hodgkins’s effort may turn out, although there’d presumably have to be a decision soon considering the imminence of the date when he’s currently supposed to surrender to law enforcement authorities.
Update: DOJ is against letting Jan. 6 def Paul Hodgkins delay serving his 8-month sentence. They say he had plenty of notice of what he was getting into when he took a plea deal and that he's unlikely to win an ineffective assistance of counsel arg now: https://t.co/4yYE1UsVNQ pic.twitter.com/iEenRkfAk5
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) September 14, 2021
Specifically, Hodgkins claims that he “was bullied by his attorney into pleading guilty” and wants “to take it back,” as summarized by The Washington Post. That previous attorney, Patrick Leduc, has since been deployed overseas as part of service in the Army Reserves, and Hodgkins is now represented by a defense attorney named Carolyn Stewart. Through Stewart, Hodgkins has said that he “did not want to plead guilty to a felony” — although a felony charge certainly reflects the gravity of his actions on January 6. During that day’s rioting, Hodgkins toted a Trump flag onto the floor of the Senate, from which top government leaders had just recently fled for their lives from the mob. It was as though he was claiming the space for Trump.