Restrictions ordered for John Sullivan, who prosecutors say ‘thrives at inciting chaos’
A Utah man who faces federal criminal charges accusing him of storming the U.S. Capitol with a violent mob of pro-Trump demonstrators last week will be released from jail over the objections of government prosecutors.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Daphne Oberg placed strict conditions on John Earle Sullivan, 26, including barring him from social media and from attending protests and subjecting his electronic devices to monitoring and searches.
Sullivan also must wear a location monitor, remain at his Sandy residence and find a job outside of Insurgence USA, a social justice group he founded that calls itself anti-fascist and protests police brutality. He also cannot possess firearms.
Oberg said in a hearing in Salt Lake City on Friday that any violation of those conditions would “not be taken lightly.”
Sullivan was charged Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., with being on restricted property, civil disorder and violent entry or disorderly conduct. The case will be tried in Washington.
Assistant U.S. attorney Bryan Reeves argued that Sullivan should remain behind bars pending the resolution of his case, saying he “thrives in chaos. He thrives at inciting chaos.” Sullivan, he said, also poses as a member of other organizations for “self-aggrandizing attention.”
Defense attorney Mary Corporon said Sullivan is willing to find a more “traditional” job, but said it’s almost impossible to work without the internet. She argued that he should not be stripped of all his First Amendment rights.
Sullivan, who also faces criminal charges in connection with a Provo protest he organized in June, told the Deseret News last week that he attended the rally in Washington in order to see “the truth” about the protests for himself and the organization he represents.
Reeves also cited reports of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitols and in Washington ahead of the presidential inauguration among the reasons for keeping Sullivan in custody. He said Sullivan intended to return to Washington for Inauguration Day next week.
Sullivan told authorities that he works for an organization that “incites violent acts,” the prosecutor said.