January 6 rioters try to profit from attempts to destroy democracy

Perhaps inspired by their idol, former President Donald Trump, the January 6 Rioters are trying to cash in on their crimes in creative ways, including selling personal memoirs, January 6 merchandise and a rap album on the theme of the riots, reported the Associated Press.

A man prosecuted for his involvement on Jan. 6 released a rap album with a cover image of him sitting in a police cruiser outside the Capitol on the day of the attack. Court documents also show the individual, Antionne DeShaun Brodnax, in photos and video taken inside the Capitol that day. The album contains “riot-themed songs,” according to the AP.

Another rioter, from Washington state, helped his father sell clothes and other merchandise with images of the Capitol and slogans such as “Our Home” printed on them. Jeremy Grace and his father, Jeffrey Grace are both charged with involvement in the Jan. 6 riot. “As recently as July and August 2021,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing note for the son, “Grace helped his father sell T-shirts, baseball caps, water bottles, decals and other accessories with phrases like “Our house”. These Colors Don’t Run,” “Back the Blue,” and images of the United States Capitol, some featuring an American flag.

“The irony, not to mention the audacity, of selling props labeled ‘Back the Blue’ in the context of January 6 is particularly troubling,” prosecutors added.

The list continues. Federal law enforcement has seized tens of thousands of dollars from a defendant who profited from the sale of footage he took on Jan. 6. Meanwhile, other individuals and groups raised funds for the attack.

An individual being prosecuted for Jan. 6, Kyle Fitzsimons, claimed he lacked funds for a private defense attorney, but according to prosecutors he raised “at least $20,215 for his legal defense via a web page from crowdfunding”. The prosecution asked the court this month to force Fitzsimons to deposit $12,300 in court to help pay his public defender.

Paul J. West, a Nevada resident who was shown on video smoking a roll-up cigarette he said contained weed in the Capitol building during the attack, asked his mother to help contact publishers to sell a book he was writing around January 6.

West isn’t the only defendant to ask his mother for help. Ronald Sandlin was accused of assaulting officers near the Senate Gallery and boasted on Facebook that he was “already working on a Netflix deal on the footage I have”. He also asked his mother to help him contact book publishers for his memoir on the “Capitol Incident”. Sandlin claimed to have met curator Dinesh D’Souza and been in contact with podcaster Joe Rogan.

In a March 2021 text message, Sandlin expressed her hopes of turning the book into a movie, writing, “I anticipate Leonardo DiCaprio playing me.”