On Thursday, a Utah man was convicted of five felonies and two misdemeanor charges in connection to the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol insurrection.
- Obstructing an official proceeding.
- Obstructing officers during a civil disorder.
- Entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon.
- Disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon.
- Unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon on Capitol grounds or buildings.
Additionally, Sullivan was convicted on the following misdemeanor charges:
- Disorderly conduct in a Capitol building.
- Parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
Sullivan is a self-proclaimed “activist-slash-journalist” who took footage inside and outside of the Capitol on Jan. 6. He took footage of Ashli Babbitt, who was fatally shot “while attempting to climb through the broken window of a barricaded door leading to the Speaker’s Lobby inside the Capitol,” per The Associated Press.
As Samuel Benson reported for the Deseret News, Sullivan has denied allegations of being part of antifa. “Sullivan contends that he organized a pro-gun-rights rally with a far-right militia group last summer,” Benson wrote. Sullivan had “BLACK LIVES MATTER” and “NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE” signs outside his home. Black Lives Matter Utah founder Lex Scott told Fox News, “We do not want to be associated with John Sullivan.”
Sullivan was arrested by the FBI on Jan. 14, 2021.
Evidence presented during the trial showed Sullivan, who had on a ballistic vest and a gas mask, entering the Capitol through a broken window, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. During video footage, Sullivan was reportedly heard saying, “We gotta get this (expletive) burned.”
As some rioters told the crowd to not engage in violence, Sullivan reportedly said, “They don’t listen without that (expletive).” According to other evidence from the trial, he “informed other members of the crowd he had a knife and offered up that knife to rioters at entrance to the House Chamber.”
Some of the evidence shown in the trial came from Sullivan’s own videos, per Fox 13 News.
Sullivan’s sentencing date has not yet been announced.
During his trial, Sullivan said he was acting as a citizen journalist “to document and record history,” The Washington Post reported. He claimed he was trying to “say a lot of things to try and protect myself.”
During the trial, government prosecutors referred to Sullivan as “antiestablishment,” according to NBC News. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barclay reportedly said, “It does not matter whether Sullivan was holding a camera to record his crimes. He incited the mob at every step. He knew why he was there that day. He wanted to tear it all down.”
“He wasn’t saying these things to protect himself. He was saying these things to get the crowd up, to incite them,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebekah Lederer said, per The Washington Post, as she recalled Sullivan was recorded telling documentarian Jade Sacker, “I’m just going to film as a ploy so I don’t get arrested.”