Govt confiscates $90,000 earned by Capitol riot participant for selling footage of Ashli Babbitt's fatal shooting

The US has seized the $90,000 received by a participant in the Capitol Hill riot for selling footage of the death of pro-Trump protester Ashli Babbitt, who was fatally shot by police while storming the US legislature building.

The repossession was revealed after court filings against John Earle Sullivan were unsealed on Thursday. Sullivan also received additional criminal charges for his actions during the events of January 6 and is now facing a total of eight criminal counts.

Sullivan is an oddball figure among the more than 440 people charged with various crimes related to the Capitol violence. He had his 15 minutes of fame in the aftermath, speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’, presenting himself as a left-wing activist who had mingled with the pro-Trump crowd to document their misdeeds.

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Shortly afterwards, he became a central figure in a theory adopted by some Trump supporters, which suggested the riot was orchestrated by Antifa and Left agitators. Before January 6, Sullivan was involved in organizing several Black Lives Matter protests in Utah.

Sullivan also reportedly did work for causes supported by the opposite side of the political spectrum, such as gun rights, and was suspected by activists on each side of being a double agent. Another explanation put forward by people he worked with was that Sullivan was simply acting opportunistically, latching on to whatever protest movement he could find to benefit from personally.

The 40-minute video that he filmed during the Capitol Hill riot ultimately led to his arrest in January. On the video he can be heard egging on participants of the rally, telling them at one point: “Let’s burn this s**t down.”

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As he moved through the halls of the Capitol, he joined a group trying to press their way into the House Speaker’s Lobby. He called on Capitol police standing in front of a barricaded door to leave. As the officers tried to move away, Babbitt attempted to get through a hole in the door and was shot. Sullivan claimed his inciting of the riot was necessary to “blend in” with the protester crowd.

Babbitt was one of five people who died amid the Capitol Hill riot, and the only one whose death was definitively linked to the use of lethal force. Capitol police refused to identify the officer who shot her, clearing them of criminal wrongdoing in the incident.

The court filings did not identify the media outlets which paid Sullivan for the footage of Babbitt's death, but the Washington Post was among those which previously reported doing so.

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