According to Mediate, Ray Epps, a Donald Trump loving figure who was at the center of a conspiracy theory popularized by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, has now been charged with one count related to his involvement in the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol. Court documents reveal that Epps faces a misdemeanor count of disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds. It is worth noting that Epps was charged by information, which often suggests an intention to enter into a plea deal.
Epps, a former Marine and one-time chapter president of the far-right Oath Keepers, had previously stated that he went to the Capitol on January 6th to support then-President Donald Trump. Video footage depicted Epps encouraging demonstrators to march with him and enter the Capitol, although he later urged restraint as the situation escalated into violence. Epps also crossed a police barricade into a restricted area of the Capitol grounds.
The delay in charging Epps had fueled a conspiracy theory propagated by Tucker Carlson, who suggested that Epps might have been an undercover agent employed by the FBI to incite the crowd outside the Capitol. This theory shifted blame away from Trump and his supporters and placed it on shadowy government forces.
Tucker Carlson had continually raised questions about Epps in his broadcasts, showcasing videos of Epps at the Capitol and highlighting the fact that Epps had not been charged. He went so far as to accuse Epps of orchestrating the insurrection, although he provided no direct evidence to support his claims.
Despite Carlson’s dismissal from Fox News, where most of his commentary on Epps took place, Epps has filed a defamation lawsuit against the cable news network. In his complaint, Epps alleges that “Fox knew it needed a scapegoat for January 6th. It settled on Ray Epps and began promoting the lie that Epps was a federal agent who incited the attack on the Capitol.” The situation surrounding Ray Epps remains a complex and contentious aspect of the aftermath of the January 6th Capitol riot.
Carlson ratcheted up the rhetoric about Epps in successive episodes of his popular broadcast after the insurrection. He first raised questions about Epps, played videos of him at the Capitol, pointed to Epps never being charged, then accused him of stage-managing the insurrection.
Carlson offered no direct evidence to support his claims.