A man who painted himself as an innocent, independent journalist when he captured the most violent scenes amid the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol Building has been hit with additional charges and seen $90,000 in assets seized for selling his footage to media outlets.
John Earle Sullivan claimed to have entered the Capitol with the intention of recording the rioters, yet quickly gained notoriety in the days that followed for his history of far-left, anti-police activism that included charges of rioting, threats of violence, and criminal mischief in his home state of Utah.
According to the original criminal affidavit when he was first arrested in January on charges of unlawful entry, disorderly conduct, and attempted obstruction of law enforcement, Sullivan began the day on Jan. 6 with the apparent intention of burning down the Capitol Building and ripping then-President Donald Trump out of office (or something to that effect).
“The United States obtained a video of Sullivan, posted on YouTube, in which, while attending a protest in Washington, D.C., Sullivan can be seen telling a crowd, over a microphone, ‘we about to burn this s**t down,’ ‘we got to rip Trump out of office … f***ing pull him out of that s**t … we ain’t waiting until the next election … we about to go get that motherf***er,’” the affidavit read (no asterisks were used). “Sullivan then can be seen leading the crowd in a chant of, ‘it’s time for a revolution.’”
He was also sporting a ballistics vest and a gas mask when he entered the Capitol.
One of the men who was part of the siege of the Capitol building is John Earle Sullivan, an extreme BLM activist from Utah. He was arrested & charged in July 2020 over a BLM-antifa riot where drivers in Provo were threatened & one was shot. https://t.co/C0WQsEfcIG pic.twitter.com/Kxm5du2Ozs
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) January 7, 2021
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) May 22, 2021
Now I mean, to be fair, this kind of hard-hitting on-the-ground commentary is right up CNN’s alley, but prosecutors have reportedly taken issue with the fact that Sullivan made tens of thousands of dollars selling the footage he obtained while encouraging riots through the halls of Congress.
This footage also included the shooting death of Ashli Babbit, which occurred when Sullivan was in the immediate vicinity.
Reuters reported last week that unspecified U.S. authorities seized $90,000 from Sullivan and also filed additional charges against him. Sullivan now faces eight criminal counts, including a weapons charge relating to the riot.
A seizure warrant indicated that he had been paid a total of $90,000 from several news outlets, although it redacted the names of the outlets, Reuters reported.
However, in a February court hearing, Sullivan’s lawyers submitted invoices showing CNN and NBC each paid him $35,000 for the rights to his footage.
NEW: John Sullivan, charged for his participation in the Jan. 6 riots, was paid $35,000 apiece from CNN and NBC for his footage inside the Capitol. More on his detention hearing from @joshgerstein https://t.co/m46NgKVzKA
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) February 17, 2021
According to the Justice Department affidavit, Sullivan is the founder of the group Insurgence USA. In February, prosecutors said the group was “absolutely the instrumentality through which Mr. Sullivan committed the relevant acts,” according to Politico.
“It is Mr. Sullivan’s reason for being there and for his criminal participation in the riot,” U.S. Attorney Candice Wong argued at the time as Sullivan was banned from using social media, Politico reported.
She noted that his videos were supportive of violence, including violence against police and that he is“a sort of expert resource for rioters.”
“Under the guise of journalism … he is engaged in and incited violent activity, including the kind of destructive society we saw on Jan. 6,” Wong said, according to Politico.
And what did the journalistic outlets do? Pay him handsomely for the footage he obtained, footage that played gloriously into their expertly spun narratives on what happened that day.
I don’t know what’s worse — Sullivan’s wanton instigation of violence on the obvious basis of his radical beliefs. or the base, hypocritical opportunism he displayed by greedily hawking his footage to outlets he knew would gobble it up.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.