John Earle Sullivan, 26, will be released on bail after being charged in relation to the siege of the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday
A left-wing activist charged over his role in the siege of the U.S. Capitol Building has made his first appearance in court.
John Earle Sullivan, 26, told
Sullivan has been charged with one count of knowingly entering a restricted building, one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and one count of interfering with law enforcement.
On Friday, he appeared via Zoom from a jail cell in Utah for his first court hearing.
A judge granted Sullivan bail on strict conditions, despite a prosecutor pleading for him to remain behind bars until after Joe Biden’s Inauguration.
As part of his release, Sullivan has been ordered to stay inside his home in Utah, and not travel to any protests, whether locally or in Washington, DC.
He will also have to surrender his passport and avoid communication with any witnesses or co-defendants.
The 26-year-old activist has additionally been ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and is prohibited from possessing weapons. The judge noted that Sullivan’s father had removed firearms from his home.
The prosecution pleaded for Sullivan to remain behind bars until after Inauguration Day, arguing that he could pose a risk to public safety.
They claimed that the left-wing activist ‘thrives on chaos’.
The judge denied the motion, saying the demand did not meet threshold under the Utah bail reform amendments.
However, the judge agreed to the prosecution’s request for Sullivan to stay off social media. The left-wing activist frequently shares posts on Instagram, and uploads video to YouTube.
Sullivan filmed multiple videos of the event, before posting them to YouTube under his username ‘Jayden X’
In one of the clips, he is seemingly heard encouraging other rioters as they enter the building
While Sullivan remains behind the camera throughout most of the footage, he pans down at the start of the video to show how he is decked out in a ballistic vest for the riot, pictured
The FBI alleges that Sullivan is heard saying he smashed the glass pane to the left
According to a release by the
He filmed multiple videos of the event, before posting them to YouTube under his username ‘Jayden X’.
In one of the clips, he is seemingly heard encouraging other rioters as they enter the building.
‘We got to get this s**t burned,’ he purportedly states, before adding: ‘It’s our house motherf*****.’
Elsewhere in his recorded clips he says to rioters: ‘You guys are f**king savage. Let’s go!’
‘This s**t is ours! F**k yeah. I can’t believe this is reality.’
The DOJ further alleges he told rioters: ‘We accomplished this s**t … We are all a part of this history.’
The department added that Sullivan admits to ‘filming and being depicted in video footage’ from the moment Ashli Babbit was shot dead by a Capitol police officer.
Included in the
Sullivan had voluntarily given the footage to the FBI following an interview on January 7, the day after the riot.
He is rarely seen in the video but narrates at certain points and can be heard speaking to others storming the Capitol and interacting with law enforcement.
As rioters climbed over the wall, Sullivan is heard saying ‘You guys are f*****g savage, let’s go!’ before offering a person his hand to help him climb up.
He then films as he climbs through a broken window into the Capitol building before roaming through the building and telling law enforcement to stand down so they don’t get hurt.
‘You are putting yourself in harm’s way,’ he tells them, adding ‘the people have spoken’ and ‘there are too many people, you gotta stand down, the people out there that tried to do that s**t, they got hurt, I saw it, I’m caring about you.’
Sullivan is heard in the footage offering a Trump supporter help to climb the wall
At another point, he is heard saying he has a knife as he tries to get through a crowd
The affidavit shows the gas mask and vest that Sullivan was wearing as he joined the riot
During the footage, Sullivan is seen entering an office where he looks out a window at the crowds of Trump supporters swarming outside.
‘We did this, we took this s**t,’ he states as a banging is heard off camera.
As he pans away, the window pane beside him that was previously unbroken is now smashed.
‘I broke it, my bad, my apologies,’ Sullivan states.
‘Well, they already broke a window so, you know. I didn’t know I hit it that hard. No one got that on camera.’
At a later point, Sullican shouts, ‘Hey guys, I have a knife, I have a knife, let me up,’ as he joins a group of rioters trying to break glass windows to get through another door and get further into the building.
The video provided to the FBI also includes the moment that Babbitt was shot as Sullivan stood beside her.
‘There’s a gun, there’s a gun, there’s a gun,’ Sullivan had shouted moments before as the rioters broke through the windows.
The affidavit lists Sullivan’s own video as evidence of his crimes
At one point, Sullivan enters an office where he is heard praising other rioters
Sullivan films as he climbed through the smashed window of the U.S. Capitol
‘Shots fired,’ he shouts again as he zooms in on the fatally injured Babbitt lying on the ground.
The shooting occurred in an area of the building that Sullivan was not allowed to be in.
However, Sullivan painted a far different picture of his time inside the Capitol when he spoke with Anderson Cooper on CNN last week.
He appeared on the cable network alongside a documentary filmmaker, with the pair portrayed as passively watching the chaos unfold.
Sullivan spoke with
‘I had to relate to these people, and build trust in the short amount of time,’ he stated.
According to the publication, Sullivan is already facing rioting and criminal mischief charges ‘stemming from a Black Lives Matter protest in Utah last year’.
He explained himself further in a Q&A posted to his YouTube account on Tuesday.
‘For any misconceptions on why I was there in the first place, because I was documenting this event,’ he claimed.
‘This monumental event in history. If you knew about this s**t, would you not be there as well. Maybe some of you are scared? And that’s valid … but I put myself in that situation all the time and that what my job is to do, that’s what my livelihood is … otherwise I’m broke and I have no life.
‘I was there just to record and what I do is blend in with the crowd. Blending in is the key to not getting f****d up.
Sullivan painted a far different picture of his time inside the Capitol when he spoke with Anderson Cooper on CNN last week, claiming he was only there to document the event
‘Yes, they were kinda doing illegal sh**,’ he added.
‘So they were already in a position to do some more illegal s**t by f***ing me up … They already think I’m Antifa which is not true and they think I’m with BLM and while I think black lives matter I’m not with the organization.
‘I have my own organization, Insurrgence USA.’
Sullivan claims the organization is a social justice group that calls itself anti-fascist and protests police brutality.
‘Our mission is the unification of our nation because a people united will never be divided,’ Insurgence USA’s website states.
He also spoke about his earlier encounter with the FBI in which he was detained and questioned about his videos from the Capitol after he had given several national TV interviews about what he had witnessed.
‘I was not arrested, I was detained,’ he said, two days before he would find himself under arrest by federal agents.
‘The FBI did show up to my house yesterday and they got the original files of the video. I gave that to them via USB hard-drive.
‘Either they take my phone or you give them the f*****g footage, that’s pretty straight forward … I have nothing to hide.’
Dozens of rioters stormed the Capitol last week (pictured), following a rally held by Trump
Sullivan is one of more than 170 people who have now been charged in relation to the siege.
He ‘claimed to be an activist and journalist that filmed protests and riots’ in his interview with the FBI yet admitted ‘that he has no press credentials and the investigation has not revealed any connection between Sullivan and any journalistic organizations’, his charging documents state.
Some pundits have been left dismayed by the seemingly soft charges that have been leveled at some of the alleged rioters. Many have thus far been charged with misdemeanor offenses.
However, acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin said his office will increase charges after more evidence is gathered.
‘This is only the beginning,’ he told reporters on Tuesday.
‘The gamut of conduct is mind-blowing. The FBI is working with the US attorney’s office. We’re looking at significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy. Their marching orders are to build seditious and conspiracy cases. Those have prison terms of up to 20 years,’ Sherwin stated.