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Prosecutors want Capitol riot defendants to pay for damages

The U.S. attorney's office in Washington has determined that the Jan. 6 riot caused nearly $1.5 million in damages to the Capitol, and in their plea agreements, some defendants are being asked to foot part of the bill for repairs.

On Wednesday, one of the defendants, 38-year-old Paul Hodgkins of Tampa, Florida, pleaded guilty to one felony count of storming the Capitol to obstruct the certification of the 2020 presidential election. In a plea agreement letter sent to Hodgkins and his attorney last month, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mona Sedky wrote that Hodgkins acknowledged $1,495,326.55 worth of damage had been caused to the Capitol during the riot, and he agreed to pay $2,000 in restitution to the Treasury Department.

Several defense attorneys working with riot defendants told The Washington Post the U.S. attorney's office wants to require $2,000 restitution for each felony case and $500 for each misdemeanor case. One of the attorneys wasn't sure if a judge could sentence someone to pay restitution if they were not actually charged with causing the damage, but the Post says prosecutors seem to be arguing that anyone who participated in the riot at any point should have to pay.

Rioters shattered windows and broke doors, art, and furniture, with additional damage caused by fire extinguishers that left behind residue. Prosecutors did not say how they came to the $1.5 million estimate. A spokeswoman for the Architect of the Capitol told the Post the agency delivered damage assessments to the Justice Department, and they calculated the penalties.