Man Victimized By Jan. 6 Truthers Charged With Jan. 6 Crime

Ray Epps has been the subject of right-wing conspiracy theories positing that he singlehandedly spurred the attack on the Capitol on behalf of the government.
Ray Epps
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It’s exactly what you’d expect them to do.

Federal prosecutors charged Ray Epps, with one count of disorderly conduct, according to a Monday court filing.

It’s quite a turnaround for Epps, who has faced years of threats and been forced to go into hiding after finding himself the victim of a right-wing conspiracy campaign aimed at blaming January 6 on a murky cohort of supposed federal agents.

Epps, right-wing dots-connectors have long claimed, did a shocking thing on Jan. 5 and 6: as an undercover federal agent, he singlehandedly instigated the attack. Former Fox News fixture Tucker Carlson used Epps to suggest that the entire Jan. 6 attack was the product of a conspiracy engineered by federal agents, while Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) once used his time at a hearing to ask federal law enforcement officials, “Is Ray Epps a fed?”

Now, Epps has been charged via criminal information with a misdemeanor. Michael Teter, an attorney representing Epps in a civil defamation suit against Fox News, confirmed a plea deal to TPM, saying that there would be a hearing in the matter on Wednesday.

The charging document says that Epps entered cordoned off areas of the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6 with the intent of disrupting federal business.

The focus of right-wing conspiracy theorists was on a video of Epps on Jan. 5, in which he appeared to exhort people to enter the Capitol the next day. The next day, during the attack itself, video showed Epps outside of the building conversing with a rioter.

A mixture of online conspiracy theorists and voices with more mainstream reach like Carlson seized on Epps, a former Trump supporter and onetime Oath Keeper, to allege that he was the tip of the spear in a government effort to discredit Trump by stoking violence on Jan. 6.

There was never any evidence to support this, and most of the theories about Epps relied on logical leaps, random inferences, and a healthy dose of free association.

An attorney for Epps in a defamation lawsuit he filed against Fox News did not immediately return TPM’s request for comment.

In that lawsuit against Fox News, Epps said that he had been told by federal prosecutors in May that he would be charged. Epps blamed that decision by prosecutors on “political pressure” generated by “the relentless attacks by Fox and Mr. Carlson.”

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