April 28, 2024

Unconventional Jan. 6 defendant sentenced to 72 months in prison

Another defendant charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6, 2021, unrest at the U.S. Capitol has just learned his fate in a Washington, D.C. federal courtroom.

John Sullivan of Utah, who traveled to the nation's capital on the day in question, shot footage of the death of protestor Ashli Babbit and sold the video to news organizations while posing as a journalist, was sentenced to six years in prison, as Politico reports.

Judge issues sentence

In issuing Sullivan's sentence, Judge Royce Lamberth declared the defendant a “chaos agent” who presented a case unlike that of the majority of those charged for their actions on that fateful day.

Sullivan, Lamberth noted, did not subscribe to the notion that the 2020 election had been stolen from Donald Trump, but rather got involved in the day's events as a way to exploit the ensuing unrest.

In Lamberth's estimation, Sullivan believed that “violence was an end unto itself,” and he blasted the defendant for having sold footage of the riotous scenes for in excess of $90,000.

Prosecutors in the case argued that Sullivan's original intent in traveling to D.C. was to confront supporters of Trump, but that things changed once he arrived at the Capitol, as a press release from the Justice Department explained.

It was then that he saw an opportunity to further an anti-government agenda of his own by fomenting additional unrest among those in attendance and even offering a blade to demonstrators as they attempted to breach the building.

“One-man show”

Federal prosecutors had sought a sentence exceeding seven years, explaining that while Sullivan purported to be interested in furthering “noble” objectives such as racial equality, he went about his mission in “completely unlawful and egregious ways.”

Government attorneys noted that even though he painted himself as a backer of progressive groups, he was actually a “one-man who” who was willing to join forces with anyone wishing to “tear it all down.”

The prison sentence represents quite a fall from grace for Sullivan, whose father appeared in court to describe the 29-year-old as a former Eagle Scout who once trained to be an Olympic speedskater.

However, after having been convicted by a jury of felony counts including obstructing an official proceeding, obstructing officer during a civil disorder, entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon, disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon, and unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon on Capitol grounds, as well as a series of misdemeanors, it was unlikely that he would escape substantial incarceration.

As it stands, Sullivan received a sentence of 72 months in prison, 36 additional months of supervised release, and a restitution order requiring the payment of $2,000.

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