Capitol riot suspect sold footage to CNN and NBC News for $70k

Mayank AggarwalThu, 18 February 2021, 7:30 am

<p>File image: Police detain a person as Trump supporters riot outside the Capitol on 6 January</p> (AFP via Getty Images)
File image: Police detain a person as Trump supporters riot outside the Capitol on 6 January(AFP via Getty Images)

A man suspected to be involved in the 6 January Capitol Hill riots sold the rights to a video of the chaos to CNN and NBC News for $35,000 (£25,300) each.

John Sullivan, a videographer from Utah who shares videos through his “Insurgence USA” website, is being accused of participating in the Capitol riots even as he has maintained that he attends such demonstrations as a journalist.

A federal magistrate judge refused the prosecution’s plea to ban him from using social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook but directed him to end his association with “Insurgence USA”, which according to the Justice Department glorifies violent protests, reported Politico.

It was during this hearing on Tuesday that Mr Sullivan’s lawyer revealed to court invoices that showed his firm being paid $35,000 (£25,300) each by CNN and NBC News for footage of the riots.

He was arrested in January 2021 and is facing charges of obstruction of Congress and interfering with police.

During the hearing in Washington, magistrate judge Robin Meriweather rejected the prosecutors’ efforts to block Mr Sullivan from using Twitter and Facebook while also ruling against 24-hour location monitoring.

The judge, however, directed that the accused “is to no longer work for Insurgence USA” and will have his internet use monitored by officials.

The prosecutors have dismissed Mr Sullivan’s contention of just being a journalist and instead accused him of actively encouraging violence.

During the hearing, the assistant US attorney Candice Wong noted that Mr Sullivan’s videos urge violence and attacks on police while noting that “under the guise of journalism …. he is engaged in and incited violent activity, including the kind of destructive society we saw on 6 January.”

Mr Sullivan’s political leanings have also been under the scanner with him claiming to be a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement even though the BLM activists have distanced themselves from him stating that he seemed intent on provoking violence at protests.