CNN and NBC News each bought video footage from the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol for $35,000 from a man who has now been accused of being a “left-wing grifter” who was later charged by prosecutors for his alleged activities during the riot, according to the Daily Wire.
“The defendant, John Sullivan of Utah, has maintained that he attends raucous demonstrations as a journalist, sharing videos through his Insurgence USA website and social media platforms,” Politico reported. “Sullivan’s defense attorney even filed invoices with the court showing that CNN and NBC each paid Sullivan’s firm $35,000 last month for rights to video he filmed of chaotic scenes outside and inside the Capitol, including the deadly shooting of protester Ashli Babbitt by a U.S. Capitol Police officer.”
Federal prosecutors, however, say that not only is Sullivan not an innocent bystander, but that he was an instigator who acted in a manner to cause additional chaos during the riot.
“Under the guise of journalism … he is engaged in and incited violent activity, including the kind of destructive society we saw on Jan. 6,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Candice Wong wrote in court documents. “The defendant, according to his own video footage, apparently exhorted others to ‘burn this (expletive) down,’ ‘break that (expletive),’ and — amid the smashing of the speaker’s lobby doors — ‘Go! Go! Get this (expletive)!’ He celebrated the breach of the Capitol as ‘revolutionary history.’ He boasted of how ‘it’s only a little jail time … I do this all the time.’”
Sullivan, 26, was apprehended last month and has now been charged in a six-count federal indictment that includes “obstruction of an official proceeding; civil disorder; entering and remaining in a restricted building; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building,” The Desert News reported.
A spokesperson for CNN claimed that they chose not to use the footage they purchased from Sullivan after he was accused of crimes during the riot.
“On January 6th, CNN was contacted by a reputable agent regarding an eye-witness [sic] video from the Capitol Hill riots,” a spokesperson for CNN said in a statement. “The company entered into a one-week agreement for use of 44-seconds [sic] of key content, which was attributed to the witness on air. When his role in the event was later called into question, the company informed staff to cease all use of the video.”
Federal law enforcement officials have charged over 200 people for crimes that they allegedly committed during the January 6 riot at the Capitol.