News and Commentary

CNN, NBC Purchased Video For $35,000 From Man Charged In U.S. Capitol Riot: Court Docs
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: U.S. Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results.
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CNN and NBC News each purchased video from the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol for $35,000 from a man who has been accused of being a “left-wing grifter” who was later charged by prosecutors for his alleged activities during the riot.

“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, they allege 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 arrested last month and has 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 decided to stop using the video footage that they purchased from him after they learned about his alleged role in the riot.

“On January 6th, CNN was contacted by a reputable agent regarding an eye-witness video from the Capitol Hill riots,” a spokesperson for CNN said in a statement provided to the New York Post. “The company entered into a one-week agreement for use of 44-seconds 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 well over 200 people for crimes that they allegedly committed during the January 6 riot. Democrats immediately seized on the opportunity and launched a second impeachment effort against then-President Donald Trump that did not conclude until weeks after Trump left office. The U.S. Senate ultimately voted to acquit Trump of the charges filed against him by House Democrats, who claimed that he had incited the riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.

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