By Alanna Durkin Richer, Michael Kunzelman and Lindsay Whitehurst | Related Press
WASHINGTON — Ray Epps, a former Marine who grew to become the middle of a Jan. 6, 2021, conspiracy concept, has been charged with a misdemeanor offense in reference to the U.S. Capitol riot and is predicted to plead responsible, in keeping with courtroom papers filed Tuesday.
Epps, who claimed in a lawsuit filed this 12 months that Fox Information Channel made him a scapegoat for the Capitol riot, is charged with disorderly or disruptive conduct on restricted grounds, courtroom information present.
Epps’ legal professional, Edward J. Ungvarsky, stated in an e mail that the case was filed with an anticipation that Epps would plead responsible to the cost. The decide has scheduled a plea settlement listening to for Wednesday.
Epps, a one-time supporter of President Donald Trump who has stated he went to Washington to protest the 2020 election Trump misplaced to Joe Biden, was falsely accused by Fox of being a authorities agent who was whipping up bother that might be blamed on Trump supporters, his lawsuit claims.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, in an look earlier than the Home Judiciary Committee in July, denied having any data of Epps being a “secret authorities agent.”
“I’ll say this notion that one way or the other the violence on the Capitol on January 6 was a part of some operation orchestrated by FBI sources and brokers is ludicrous,” Wray advised lawmakers.
In an interview that aired earlier this 12 months with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Epps, of Mesa, Arizona, described being “on the run,” after dying threats compelled him and his spouse to promote their house. On the time of the interview, they have been residing in a leisure car within the Rocky Mountains, in keeping with “60 Minutes.”
“I needed to do the required issues to maintain my household secure,” Epps stated.
Though Epps’ lawsuit mentions Fox’s Laura Ingraham and Will Cain, former Fox host Tucker Carlson is cited because the chief in selling the speculation. Epps was featured in additional than two dozen segments on Carlson’s prime-time present, the lawsuit stated. Messages looking for remark have been despatched Tuesday to Fox Information and a lawyer for Carlson.
Epps’ lawsuit in opposition to Fox says the Justice Division advised him in Might that he faces legal prices for his actions on Jan. 6 and blames that on “the relentless assaults by Fox and Mr. Carlson and the ensuing political strain.”
The lawsuit contains threatening messages Epps says he acquired, together with one which reads, “Epps, sleep with one eye open.”
Throughout his January 2022 interview with the Jan. 6 Home Committee, Epps, who labored as a roofer after serving 4 years as infantry within the U.S. Marine Corps, advised investigators that he by no means labored for the FBI.
“The one time I’ve been concerned with the federal government was once I was a Marine in the US Marine Corps,” Epps stated.
Epps was a beforehand member of the far-right Oath Keepers extremist group, serving as an Arizona chapter chief earlier than parting methods with the anti-government group a couple of years earlier than the Jan. 6 assault, he stated. He stated the Oath Keepers have been “too radical” for him. Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and different members have been convicted of seditious conspiracy within the Jan. 6 assault.
Requested if he had any perception as to why he hadn’t been charged with against the law for his function within the riot, Epps advised Home investigators that he was “attempting to cease the violence, attempting to maintain individuals from getting themselves in additional bother.”
Epps stated he was getting dying threats and his grandchildren have been “being picked on in school due to what their grandad did.”
Greater than 1,100 individuals have been charged with federal crimes stemming from the Jan. 6 riot, and authorities proceed to often convey new instances almost three years later. Roughly 670 defendants have pleaded responsible to prices, and of these, greater than 480 pleaded responsible to misdemeanors solely, in keeping with an Related Press evaluation of courtroom information.
Richer reported from Boston. Related Press reporters David Bauder contributed from New York.