A Utah man who joined in the Capitol rioting on Jan. 6 has made a tidy profit off of that day’s violence, according to documents unearthed during a court hearing on Tuesday.
John Sullivan, a Black Lives Matter activist who faces charges in Utah over a counter-protest he led against a pro-police group, has been additionally charged in connection with his participation in the Capitol riots. He faces charges of interfering with police during a civil disorder and obstruction of Congress.
Sullivan has claimed that he was not in the Capitol to riot, but to record the events of the day.
To help buttress that contention, Sullivan’s defense attorney submitted invoices in court that showed CNN and NBC each paid Sullivan $35,000 for rights to video Sullivan filmed inside the Capitol, according to Politico.
These are the invoices filed with the court today. pic.twitter.com/JdOZ9pXaIa
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) February 17, 2021
Sullivan’s video included footage of the death of protester Ashli Babbitt.
News that the establishment media paid a rioter for his videos raised eyebrows on Twitter.
CNN & NBC paid an ‘insurrectionist’ John Earl Sullivan $35,000 A PIECE for video footage of the Capitol insurrection.
Sullivan just so happened to be the leader of an Antifa & BLM group ‘Insurgence USA’ at the Capitol.
What makes the media friendly to this ‘insurrectionist?’ https://t.co/JO5581CKEq
— torsitch 🇺🇸 (@torsitch) February 17, 2021
Antifa-Insurgence leader John Earl Sullivan was arrested for his participation in the Jan 6th capital riots. CNN and NBC each paid Sullivan $35,000 for his video footage of the riots. His video footage was also used by Jamie Ranskin during the impeachment.https://t.co/cKt6j36O3D
— Chassie (@chassie0094) February 17, 2021
The payments were revealed as prosecutors sought to bar Sullivan from using the group “Insurgence USA,” which he helped found and for which he works, to disseminate his videos and commentary, and to ban him from social media.
“Defendant is legitimately self-employed as a documentarian and it is oppressive to require that he not be allowed to continue his primary area of employment for an extended period of time,” Steven R. Kiersh, Sullivan’s lawyer, wrote in a court filing.
Prosecutors, however, painted a different picture and said Sullivan’s online postings supported violence, including explanations of how to make Molotov cocktails and how to evade identification by police.
Washington-based Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather rejected a prosecution contention that Sullivan be denied access to social media, but said Sullivan “is to no longer work for Insurgence USA,” and will have his internet usage monitored by probation officers, according to Politico.
Sullivan is also prevented from using social media to incite actions that could lead to violence.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Candice Wong said Sullivan’s social media presence is connected to violence.
“Insurgence USA is absolutely the instrumentality through which Mr. Sullivan committed the relevant acts,” she said. “It is Mr. Sullivan’s reason for being there and for his criminal participation in the riot.”
Wong said Sullivan’s videos support violence and attacks on police. She said he serves as “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,” she said.
An affidavit in support of a criminal complaint against Sullivan said that in a video Sullivan provided to authorities, “SULLIVAN can be heard in the video saying at various points: ‘There are so many people. Let’s go. This s–t is ours! F— yeah,’ ‘We accomplished this s–t. We did this together. F— yeah! We are all a part of this history,’ and ‘Let’s burn this s–t down.’”
The affidavit said that once inside the Capitol, Sullivan could be heard saying in his recorded footage, “We gotta get this s–t burned.”
At other times as the protester walked through the Capitol, the affidavit added, Sullivan could be heard saying, “It’s our house motherf—ers,” and “we are getting this s–t.”
The affidavit outlined one act of vandalism.
“At one point in the video, SULLIVAN enters an office within the U.S. Capitol, as seen in the screenshot below. Once inside the office, SULLIVAN approaches a window, also seen in the screenshot below, and states, ‘We did this s–t. We took this s–t.’
“While at the window, a knocking noise is heard off-screen. The camera then pans to show more of the window and a broken pane can be seen that was not broken on SULLIVAN’s approach to the window: SULLIVAN can then be heard saying, ‘I broke it. My bad, my apologies. Well they already broke a window, so, you know, I didn’t know I hit it that hard. No one got that on camera.’ SULLIVAN then exits the office.”
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