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Utah man who recorded nearly 2 hours of his participation in Capitol riots arrested

John Sullivan, who traveled to DC from Utah for the insurrection, recorded what might be the most detailed account of what went on that day at the Capitol.

WASHINGTON — John Sullivan, a 26-year-old from Utah, was arraigned on Friday for his involvement in the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6. Also known as Activist John, Sullivan describes himself as a video journalist who was there to “document the situation.” 

While a lot of footage of the insurrection from both inside and outside the Capitol has been seen, Sullivan, who traveled to D.C. from Utah for the riot, recorded what might be the most detailed account of what went on that day.

In the 90-minute video that he recorded, Sullivan is seen charging the Capitol, encouraging others to "join the revolution," discouraging police officers from doing their job and suggesting the Capitol be burned to the ground.

In the video, as he approaches the west side of the Capitol, Sullivan yells, "This is a revolution. Let’s take this (expletive)! This (expletive) is ours! Let’s burn this (expletive) down!"

According to the Department of Justice, Sullivan is charged with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and one count of interfering with law enforcement engaged in the lawful performance of their official duties incident to and during the commission of civil disorder.

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Credit: WUSA

An FBI affidavit discounts Sullivan’s claim to be a journalist, explaining that Sullivan admitted to not having press credentials and that the FBI investigation hasn’t revealed any connection between Sullivan and any journalistic organizations. 

Prior to this arrest, Sullivan was charged by Provo police officers in July 2020 for criminal mischief and rioting. He was also seen in D.C. during the protests this summer following the death of George Floyd. 

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As seen in his video footage, Sullivan entered the Capitol on the west side after climbing through the scaffolding to the left of the inauguration stage. He broke through multiple police lines and finally entered through a broken window near the Senate chamber.

While inside the Capitol, he appeared to celebrate with the mob each time they charged through rooms within the Capitol. Upon entering the Rotunda, Sullivan can be heard saying," I can't believe this is reality. We accomplished this (expletive) together. This is (expletive) history."

While trying to break into the house chamber, he volunteered a knife to help break down doors, announcing to the mob, "hey guys, I have a knife. Let me up." 

At two of the five police lines that he breaches, he claimed to be a member of the press. 

"Is there no freedom of press in here," Sullivan asks a Capitol Police officer that is trying to remove the mob from the east side exit near the Senate chamber. 

Then Sullivan pleaded with the Capitol Police to let them into the House chamber.

"We’ll make a path bro," Sullivan said to an officer guarding the entrance to the Speaker's lobby. "Just let us make a path."

Moments later the officers stepped aside and Sullivan again incited the mob to violence.

"Go! Go," he yelled as other members of the mob used helmets and flag poles to break down the doors. 

Credit: WUSA

Sullivan's arraignment took place virtually on Friday in Tooele County, Utah in the court of Magistrate Judge Daphne A. Oberg. Sullivan selected Mary Corporon as his defense attorney, and Bryan N. Reeves is the Assistant United States Attorney assigned to the case along with United States Probation Officer Jacob King. 

Sullivan was ordered to be detained in his home and issued a location monitoring device. The judge stipulated that it be installed no later than 14 days after his release.

As a condition of his release, Sullivan must find full-time employment. Court documents show that Sullivan claims to work for his company Insurgence USA as a video journalist. According to the judge's orders, Sullivan may no longer work for Insurgence USA LLC. 

While Sullivan was not ordered to dissolve the company, it is no longer authorized for employment. Sullivan's counsel Mary Corporon agreed that moving forward he won’t make a living through Insurgence USA.

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Judge Oberg also imposed a computer and internet monitoring program requirement. The U.S. attorney must give notice within a week as to the sites that the government would like to prohibit Sullivan from using. His computer devices, hard-drives, media storage devices and software are to be submitted for review.

Oberg prohibited Sullivan from having possession of firearms and drugs, noting that his father had recently removed some firearms from his residence. Sullivan was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and to follow any treatment plan given including any prescribed medications.

Finally, the judge mandated that Sullivan surrender his passport to the U.S. Clerk of Court by the end of next week at the latest.

Sullivan's next court appearance is scheduled on Jan. 21 at 1 p.m. 

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