Perhaps inspired by their idol, former President Donald Trump, Jan. 6 rioters are trying to profit off their crimes in creative ways, including by selling personal memoirs, Jan. 6 merchandise and a riot-themed rap album, the Associated Press reported.
One man prosecuted for his involvement in Jan. 6 released a rap album with a cover image of him sitting on a police car in front of the Capitol on the day of the attack. Court documents also show the individual, Antionne DeShaun Brodnax, in photos and videos taken inside the Capitol that day. The album contains “riot-themed songs,” according to the AP.
Another rioter, hailing from Washington state, helped his father sell clothing and other goods with images of the Capitol and slogans such as “Our House” printed on them. Jeremy Grace and his father, Jeffrey Grace are both accused of participating in the Jan. 6 riot. “As recently as July and August 2021,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo for the son, “Grace helped his father sell t-shirts, baseball caps, water bottles, decals, and other paraphernalia with phrases like ‘Our House,’ ‘These Colors Don’t Run,’ ‘Back the Blue,’ and images of the U.S. Capitol Building, some with an American flag emblazed on them.”
“The irony, not to mention audacity, of selling ‘Back the Blue’-labeled paraphernalia in the context of January 6 is especially disturbing,” prosecutors added.
The list goes on. Federal law enforcement has seized tens thousands of dollars from one defendant who profited by selling footage he took on Jan. 6. Meanwhile other individuals and groups have been fundraising off of the attack.
One individual prosecuted for Jan. 6, Kyle Fitzsimons, claimed he lacked the funds for a private defense attorney, but according to prosecutors, he raised “at least $20,215 for his legal defense through a crowdfunding webpage.” The prosecution asked the court this month to force Fitzsimons to deposit $12,300 to the court to help pay for his public defender.
Paul J. West, a Nevada resident who was shown on video smoking a rolled cigarette he claimed contained weed in the Capitol building during the attack, requested his mother help him reach out to publishers to sell a book he was authoring about Jan. 6.
West is not the only defendant to enlist his mom’s help. Ronald Sandlin has been charged with assaulting officers near the Senate gallery and bragged on Facebook that he was “already working out a Netflix deal on the footage I have.” He also asked his mother to help him contact book publishers for his memoir of “the Capitol incident.” Sandlin claimed he met with conservative Dinesh D’Souza and was in touch with podcaster Joe Rogan.
In a March 2021 text message, Sandlin expressed his hopes to turn the book into a movie, writing, “I plan on having Leonardo DiCaprio play me.”