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Ray Epps, subject of Tucker Carlson’s Jan. 6 conspiracy theories, indicted by Justice Department

Ray Epps, subject of Tucker Carlson’s Jan. 6 conspiracy theories, indicted by Justice Department

WASHINGTON – Ray Epps, a Jan. 6 participant whose removal from the FBI’s Capitol Violence website sparked conspiracy theories that he was a federal informant, was charged in connection with the attack on the Capitol on Tuesday.

Epps is charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct or disruptive conduct on restricted grounds. He was charged with information, suggesting he plans to take a plea deal. Shortly after he was charged, a virtual plea agreement hearing was set for Wednesday, September 20 before Chief Judge James Boasberg.

Ray Epps, center at the US Capitol.
Ray Epps, center at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images archive

The criminal information charges that Epps “knowingly, and with intent to impede and disrupt the orderly conduct of official business and functions of the Government, engaged in disorderly and disruptive conduct in and within such proximity to a restricted building and grounds , that is, any posted, cordoned off, and otherwise restricted area within the United States Capitol and its grounds, where the Vice President was and would temporarily visit, when and in such a manner that such conduct would in fact impede and disrupt the orderly conduct of the government affairs and officials. functions, and attempted and conspired to do so.”

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Most of the thousands of people who gathered illegally on the restricted grounds of the US Capitol have not been charged unless they engaged in some type of aggravated conduct, such as attacking police or destroying property. The video shows Epps attempting to de-escalate tensions between police and rioters, although he is also shown with his hands on a giant Trump sign as rioters crowded around the police line. A federal judge acquitted another participant on Jan. 6 who had his hand on the same sign, saying his intent was unclear.

Epps is not accused of entering the Capitol; It is only known that he was there on January 6. NBC News contacted attorneys representing Epps, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In an interview with the committee on Jan. 6 last year, Epps said he had gone to Washington, D.C., in January 2021 as a supporter of former President Donald Trump, but that the conspiracy theories that followed had shattered his life.

“I never intended to break the law,” Epps, a former Marine, told the committee. “It’s not in my DNA. I’ve never… I’m sure you’ve looked up my history. “I’m not breaking the law.”

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Epps filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News and former host Tucker Carlson for spreading conspiracy theories suggesting Epps was some kind of agent of the federal government.

Representatives for Fox News and Carlson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The baseless notion that Epps was some kind of government agent who was inciting the mob to storm the Capitol has been widely accepted in right-wing circles, and even members of Congress have raised Epps’ case during congressional hearings. . Dominic Pezzola, a member of the Proud Boys who was sentenced to 10 years for his actions on January 6, even invoked Epps’ name at trial.



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