Unmasking the Jan. 6 Allegations: Feds Tighten Grip on Hard-Right Conspiracy Suspect…

Unmasking the Jan. 6 Allegations: Feds Tighten Grip on Hard-Right Conspiracy Suspect

On Tuesday, federal prosecutors filed a criminal case against a Utah man who was the subject of conspiracy theories, some of which were perpetuated by former President Donald Trump and his associates, accusing him of being an FBI agent when he protested at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Ray Epps, a former member of the Oath Keepers from Arizona, was charged with one misdemeanour count of disruptive or disorderly conduct in a restricted area in U.S. District Court in Washington.

According to a docket record, Epps is scheduled to enter a guilty plea to the charge on Wednesday as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors.

On video from January 5, Epps is heard encouraging the audience and urging rally attendees to “go into the Capitol,” but he swiftly adds that this should be done “peacefully.” The following day, he showed up at the Capitol and led the charge through the first gap in the barricades. On camera, he can be heard exchanging a few words with a fellow rioter named Ryan Samsel just before Samsel breaks through the police lines. His stated goal is to “calm Samsel down,” as he put it.

No evidence has surfaced to contradict Epps’ claims that he never set foot inside the Capitol building during interviews. This means that Epps is one of the few people charged with crimes related to the events of January 6 who are not accused of breaking into the Capitol or participating in violence.

Epps faces up to a year in prison if found guilty of the charge against him.

The FBI released images of people they were investigating shortly after the Capitol disturbance, and Epps was one of them.

Other defendants from January 6 and conservative media outlets, as well as President Trump, have publicly speculated that Epps was an FBI plant intent on triggering a riot and part of a so-called false flag operation because images of him were quickly removed from the FBI’s website and he has not faced any charges in the 32 months since the melee.

On January 6th, Epps testified before a committee and said he had no connection to the FBI or any other government agencies and that he had not acted on behalf of the FBI that day. In other footage, he can be seen next to Proud Boys commander Zachary Rehl, who uses what seems like a chemical spray to attack police. A jury found Rehl guilty of seditious conspiracy earlier this year, and he was given a 15-year term.

Despite being a Trump supporter and avid viewer of Fox News, Epps launched a libel suit against the network in July 2023, claiming he was being wrongly pilloried in connection with the episode. In the lawsuit, he claimed that the attention brought on by the conspiracy theories broadcast on Fox was partly to blame for his impending criminal prosecution.

Fox has denied responsibility and asked the federal court in Delaware to throw out the case.

Some Republicans, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, have fuelled conspiracy theories regarding the incident by publicly questioning whether or not Epps had ties to the FBI.

Trump fueled the rumours by spreading false information about Epps’ wife on his Truth Social account.

Epps claimed that the attention led to a surge in death threats and harassing texts.

After receiving numerous inquiries and requests for records from other Jan. 6 suspects, prosecutors compiled a disclosure regarding Epps to share with the counsel of alleged rioters last year.

Prosecutors have filed charges against more than 1,100 persons in connection with the Capitol riot, and they continue to do so on a weekly basis.

Epps’ attorneys did not immediately respond Tuesday to a request for comment on the new charge.

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