Black Lives Matter Supporter Accused of Inciting Capitol Crowd
In a high-stakes trial in Washington, a man who previously presented himself as a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement is now facing accusations of deliberately inciting the crowd during the infamous Capitol attack on January 6th, according to a federal prosecutor’s closing arguments on Wednesday.
The Activist and Journalist on Trial
The defendant in question, John Earle Sullivan, also known as “Jayden X,” is a self-professed activist and journalist who is now on trial for multiple charges, including felony obstruction of an official proceeding and civil disorder.
Controversial Filmmaker at the Center of Attention
Sullivan gained attention for his footage of the shooting death of rioter Ashli Babbitt during her attempt to enter the House Speaker’s Lobby through a broken window, which has ignited debates on the right, with some attempting to place blame on “antifa” or left-wing provocateurs for the violent actions committed by the pro-Trump mob.
A Rhetoric of Chaos
Prosecutors at the trial characterized Sullivan as an “anti-establishment” grifter and chaos agent, the founder of Insurgence USA, who harbored a desire to “burn it all down” during the Capitol attack.
Documentary Filmmaker or Instigator?
Sullivan took the stand in his own defense, presenting himself as a documentarian with no ill intentions. His testimony emphasized that he was merely an observer, following the crowd and documenting the events.
Incriminating Videos and Ambiguous Statements
However, prosecutors showcased multiple videos that revealed Sullivan’s involvement in more than just documenting. He was seen brandishing what appeared to be a knife as rioters attempted to breach the House floor. Although he admitted to carrying a knife, Sullivan claimed uncertainty as to whether the object in the video was actually a knife.
Continued Rhetoric and Intent
Prosecutors presented evidence that Sullivan’s rhetoric extended beyond the events at the Capitol. In a recorded conversation, Sullivan boasted about his contribution to the chaos and expressed a desire to further provoke the Trump supporters.
A Filmmaker’s Defense
Sullivan’s defense attorney, Steven Kiersh, argued that his client’s true intent was to film the events. He highlighted a 50-minute video filmed by Sullivan inside the Capitol as evidence.
Rhetoric as a Cover-Up
Prosecutors dismissed Sullivan’s claims, arguing that his filming was merely a ploy to provide cover for his true goal of inciting the mob. They cited a video in which Sullivan explicitly stated that he was only recording to avoid arrest.
An Offensive Testimony
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebekah Lederer criticized Sullivan’s testimony, labeling everything he said as a ploy. She found his request for the jury to believe him to be more offensive than his testimony itself.
A Controversial Figure and Financial Gains
The government revealed that Sullivan had received substantial payments, totaling at least $90,875, from various companies, including NBC News, for the rights to his Capitol footage. They also seized over $62,000 from his accounts.
The Ongoing Fallout of January 6th
With approximately 1,200 defendants arrested in connection with the Capitol attack, nearly 400 have received sentences of incarceration, reflecting the gravity of the events that unfolded on that day.
Deliberations to Begin
Jurors are scheduled to commence their deliberations on Thursday morning, determining the fate of John Earle Sullivan.
Read More of this Story at www.nbcnews.com – 2023-11-16 01:28:00
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