Agent provocateur and “Insurgence USA” founder John Sullivan, a self-styled leftist activist disavowed by Black Lives Matter leaders, was indicted in connection to the U.S. Capitol riot last month.
The Justice Department is requesting he be jailed pending trial for allegedly violating the terms of his release.
The revelation about a federal grand jury handing down a host of criminal charges against 25-year-old Sullivan, including two felonies related to obstruction during Congress’s efforts to count and certify President Biden’s Electoral College victory over former President Donald Trump, was tucked away in the middle of a detention memo federal prosecutors filed in the nation’s capital on Thursday.
The Justice Department laid out how Sullivan allegedly violated a Utah judge’s conditions of release, including accessing three of his Twitter accounts in contravention of the court’s instructions, flouting the supervision officer’s instructions by buying a new phone, appearing on the far-Right InfoWars program to defend his actions and to encourage people to follow his group, and mass emailing his Insurgence USA members to “Pack The Courtroom” in an apparent attempt to interrupt a Zoom court hearing.
Video taken by Sullivan shows him following and encouraging the Trump supporters from the entrance of the Capitol all the way to the fateful moment when 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran and Trump supporter who attempted to climb through a window into the Speaker’s Lobby, was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer.
The new court filing, submitted by U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin, said a Washington, D.C., grand jury returned an indictment charging Sullivan on Wednesday with violations of a number of federal statutes, including “obstruction of an official proceeding” and “civil disorder” tied to an attempt to obstruct law enforcement. The Justice Department said Sullivan “willfully participated in a massive and momentous obstruction effort – an attempt to prevent the congressional certification of the results of a Presidential election.” He was also charged with entering a restricted building, the Capitol, and with disruptive conduct within the Capitol. He was further charged with disorderly conduct and “parading, demonstrating, or picketing.”
The Justice Department said Sullivan accessed his prohibited “@insurgenceusa, @realjaydenx, and @activistjohn” Twitter accounts while released, and during a Jan. 26 appearance on InfoWars, he “purportedly requested that Insurgence USA’s website be specifically plugged on the show so that people could ‘follow’ him.” Sullivan said during the interview that he stands by his actions. “I am definitely not responsible for anything that took place,” he added.
Sullivan also sent an email to “Insurgence USA Members,” which included the ZoomGov Meeting link, claiming that “they are trying to imprison me for crimes I did not commit at the United States Capitol. … Please show your support by packing the courtroom today.”
Prosecutors said Sullivan’s “apparent violations of his court-imposed release conditions provide even more pointed and compelling examples of his attempts to obstruct justice.”
The FBI wrote that Sullivan voluntarily spoke with the bureau and “claimed to be an activist and journalist that filmed protests and riots, but admitted that he did not have any press credentials.” When Sullivan reached the Speaker’s Lobby, he told police guarding the door, “We want you to go home.” The FBI said officers began to exit, and members of the crowd moved toward the doors, with Sullivan yelling, “Go! Get this s—!” The crowd can be seen trying to bust out the glass in the entryway door windows, and his video shows Babbitt getting shot trying to climb through a window.
Before entering the building, Sullivan filmed the crowd pushing through police barriers, and as Sullivan approached the Capitol with a large crowd, he said, “Let’s go! This s— is ours! … Let’s burn this s— down.” Sullivan can be seen joining a crowd trying to open doors guarded by law enforcement and telling the crowd, “I have a knife — let me up,” as the group broke windows. A member of the crowd said officers are “giving us the building,” and Sullivan said, “Haul that motherf—er out this b—-.”
The Justice Department argued Thursday that “what is particularly troubling about the defendant’s depicted conduct on January 6 was its consistency throughout his extended foray through the Capitol Building” and said Sullivan “positioned himself with a front seat to not one, but multiple confrontations with officers at multiple locations, and made consistently gleeful exhortations about burning and breaking things throughout the building and its grounds.”
The DOJ added that “he breached the U.S. Capitol in tactical gear, wound his way to the front of numerous crowds and confrontations, and cheered and attempted to instigate others in committing criminal acts” and said his lack of remorse indicates the “ongoing threat he poses.”
Not mentioned by the Justice Department was how the description of his Insurgence USA website recently changed.
“Insurgence USA was started in 2020 in response to the Gorge Floyd [sic] tragedy,” Sullivan’s website said on Jan. 7, the day after the Capitol siege. “The lack of care for the human life was unacceptable so we set out to end police brutality. We then set out to empower and uplifting [sic] black and indigenous voices.”
“We are on the frontlines, giving you unedited raw footage, photos, and news of the insurrection here in America,” Sullivan’s website now claims. “Revealing the truth about Antifa and BLM’s communist plans to overthrow democracy. Exposing the sinister motives of Proud Boys and Right-Wing militias as they plot to topple the government. Welcome to the revolution.”
The Justice Department mentioned Sullivan faces charges of rioting in Provo, Utah, his hometown, for a Black Lives Matter protest he helped organize in June 2020. An August video shows Sullivan encouraging a group to attack the White House, saying, “We gotta … rip Trump right out of that office.”
Some Black Lives Matter leaders have accused Sullivan of trying to sabotage their movement. Lex Scott, leader of the Utah chapter, described Sullivan as a “loose cannon” and said, “We do not want to be associated with” him.
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