Ray Epps—a supporter of former President Donald Trump who was spotted at the January 6 Capitol riot—was charged with disorderly conduct for his alleged involvement in the attack, after the lack of charges against Epps led personalities like Tucker Carlson to baselessly claim Epps was a government provocateur.
Epps was charged with one count of disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, according to a filing from federal prosecutor Michael Gordon.
The court document said Epps did “engage in disorderly and disruptive conduct” at the Capitol with the intent to “in fact impede and disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business and official functions.”
The penalty for disorderly conduct in restricted grounds is a fine, imprisonment for not longer than one year or both.
On January 5, 2021, Epps traveled from Arizona to D.C., where he was spotted on video encouraging people to go “into the Capitol,” and then was seen again protesting outside the Capitol on January 6.
Forbes has reached out to Epps’ attorneys and the D.C. attorney’s office for comment on the charge.
What We Don’t Know
How Epps will plead. His charges were filed via a criminal information rather than an indictment, which often means a defendant has agreed to plead guilty.
Epps is currently suing Fox News for defamation because of comments made by former host Carlson that suggested—without evidence—he was an undercover government agent who instigated the riots. After seeing that he was wanted for involvement in the January 6 riots, Epps said he told the FBI he would cooperate and insisted he didn’t break any laws. But, when Epps wasn’t charged for his role—leading people to the Capitol and telling them they should “go into” it—claims spread that he was working for the government, and the claims were elevated by Carlson. Epps and his wife said in a 60 Minutes interview that they began to get death threats, were forced to sell their home and now live in a vehicle in hiding. Epps’ suit against Fox News alleges the cable news network “recklessly disregarded the truth” and continued to promote theories executives knew weren’t true, while privately recognizing they were “preposterous and crazy.” Epps was seen talking to a rioter in video footage—and some speculated he was instructing the man to confront the police—but the man later told the FBI Epps was telling him “the cops are doing their job” and to relax, the New York Times reported.