Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityOne year later, Utahn John Sullivan defends his actions during Jan. 6 Capitol riot | KUTV
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One year later, Utahn John Sullivan defends his actions during Jan. 6 Capitol riot

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John Sullivan says he put himself on the front lines of the January 6 Capitol riot to capture the events on video as a journalist.

But federal prosecutors allege Sullivan was a participant in the riot and he could face decades in prison if he's convicted of the charges that have been filed against him.

One year later, Sullivan tells 2News he is unapologetic about what he did in the Capitol during the riot.

“I had every right to be there to document history, I did my job. I wanted to give them the reality of the situation, unfiltered, that’s what I did and I stood by that," Sullivan said.

Sullivan has posted hours of his footage to his YouTube page.

“I made an effort to get to the front of the line, between police and protesters are because I know that’s where things happen," he said.

Sullivan's video recorded the moment when a Capitol police officer shot and killed protester Ashli Babbitt as she was breaching through the doors of the Speaker's Lobby.

“I thought people should have been shot way before then. They were doing things that were simply not acceptable. The police officer made the right decision. Do I like to see somebody die? No, I don’t like to see that, but she was there for a specific purpose and she made that determination to climb through the window herself," Sullivan said.

While Sullivan cites his video as a defense of his actions during the riot, the FBI and Department of Justice cite the videos as justification for criminally prosecuting Sullivan.

The indictment of Sullivan cites quotes from his own video to allege he was actively participating and encouraging the riot.

After the crowd broke through the last barricade, and as SULLIVAN and the others approach the Capitol Building, SULLIVAN can be heard in the video saying at various points: 'There are so many people. Let’s go. This s--- is ours! F--- yeah,' 'We accomplished this s---. We did this together. F--- yeah! We are all a part of this history,' and 'Let’s burn this s--- down.'

Federal court documents list 8 charges against Sullivan, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, making false statements to an agency of the United States, civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, and unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon on Capitol grounds, among others.

Federal prosecutors successfully convinced a judge to freeze more than $90,000 that Sullivan received by selling his footage to media outlets.

Sullivan maintains he was there as a journalists and he claims any statements he made that appeared to be encourage the riot were so the rioters wouldn't turn on him.

“Whatever I did say was to protect my self from the dangers around me, I‘m surrounded by white supremacists, terrorists and racists," Sullivan said. “I gave [prosecutors] all the ammunition they need to like go after and prosecute these people, which is what I wanted to do, hold these people accountable for their actions.”

As for his own criminal charges, Sullivan has pleaded not guilty and his case is still working its way through the court system.

“I know I’m innocent, I’m waiting for trial, I actually cannot wait to go to trial, I wouldn't have done anything different," he said.

Former U.S. Attorney John Huber said Sullivan's claim that he was acting a journalist could be a tough sell in court.

“You don’t get a get out of jail free card by being a reporter or claiming to be a reporter. My understanding of the law is whether you are a bona fide journalist or a pretend journalist, there’s no excuse crossing that threshold of the law," Huber said.




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