Authorities seize $90K from Utah man who sold footage of US Capitol riot

FILE PHOTO: Police release tear gas into a crowd of pro-Trump protesters during clashes at a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

(Reuters)


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WASHINGTON (Reuters) — U.S. authorities have confiscated roughly $90,000 from a Utah man who sold footage of a woman being fatally shot by police during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, according to court filings.

Prosecutors also have filed additional criminal charges against the man, John Earle Sullivan, a self-described political activist who is accused of entering the Capitol building and participating in the riot, the filings unsealed on Thursday showed.

Sullivan now faces a total of eight criminal counts, including weapons charges, related to the riot. Sullivan's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prosecutors have charged more than 440 people in connection with the attack in which Trump supporters stormed the Capitol after he gave a speech to them repeating his false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud. The mob smashed windows, fought police and sent lawmakers into hiding. Five people died.

John Sullivan, 26, of Sandy, was charged Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., with being on restricted property, civil disorder and violent entry or disorderly conduct in connection with riots at the U.S. Capitol. New court documents say both CNN and NBC paid him $35,000 for footage he captured inside the Capitol.
John Sullivan, 26, of Sandy, was charged Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., with being on restricted property, civil disorder and violent entry or disorderly conduct in connection with riots at the U.S. Capitol. New court documents say both CNN and NBC paid him $35,000 for footage he captured inside the Capitol. (Photo: Tooele County Jail)

Many participants, including Sullivan, posted their actions on social media.

According to the court filings, Sullivan portrayed himself as an independent journalist who was reporting on the chaos, but actually encouraged other participants to "burn" the building and engage in violence.

Sullivan recorded video of the confrontation between rioters and police just outside the U.S. House of Representatives chamber that included the shooting of protester Ashli Babbitt and, according to court filings, boasted to an unnamed witness that "my footage is worth like a million of dollars, millions of dollars."

Sullivan sold that footage to several news outlets for a total of $90,000, according to a seizure warrant. The news outlets were redacted from the warrant.

According to media reports, Sullivan participated in Black Lives Matter protests last year. Other Black Lives Matter activists in his home state have disavowed him.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Will Dunham)

© Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021

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