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Letters to the Editor — May 29, 2021
A federal judge tossed charges against a New York man accused in the Capitol riot — the first out of hundreds of cases to fall apart due to lack of evidence.
Prosecutors wrote to the Washington, DC, judge on Tuesday asking to drop charges against Christopher Kelly, a New York City resident who was captured in a viral photo near the US Capitol, shirtless and holding an American flag, according to court documents.
Kelly was busted in January after the FBI said it obtained information from a paid informant that showed he had taken a photo from inside the Capitol building during the Jan. 6 siege.
Kelly also allegedly boasted to several friends in a Facebook messaging group that he was in the nation’s capital that day with “ex NYPD and some proud boys,” according to charging documents.
The charging documents included the viral photo that showed a shirtless Kelly holding an American flag near the US Capitol — but did not include any photos of him inside the building during the siege.
Prosecutors said in their letter that they discussed the merits of the case and believed dismissing the charges “serves the interests of justice.”
Judge Zia Faruqui officially ordered the case dismissed in a document made public Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, the feds secured their second guilty plea in the hundreds of cases brought against the accused rioters, a report said.
Paul Allard Hodgkins copped to one felony count of obstruction after prosecutors agreed to drop the four misdemeanor counts against him, Politico reported.
The Florida man faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, but will likely do far less time because defendants are typically sentenced along federal sentencing guidelines.
He’ll likely face a sentence of less than two years because he has no prior criminal convictions, attorneys told Politico.
Photos of the siege showed Hodgkins holding a “Trump 2020” flag on the Senate floor and standing behind a desk that had papers on it in the chamber, according to the report.
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