By ALANNA DURKIN RICHER, MICHAEL KUNZELMAN and LINDSAY WHITEHURST (Associated Press)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Ray Epps, a former Marine who turned the goal of a Jan. 6, 2021, conspiracy principle, has been charged with a misdemeanor offense in reference to the U.S. Capitol riot and is anticipated to plead responsible, in line with court docket papers filed Tuesday.
Epps, who claimed in a lawsuit filed this 12 months that Fox News Channel made him a scapegoat for the Capitol riot, is charged with disorderly or disruptive conduct on restricted grounds, court docket information present.
Epps’ lawyer, Edward J. Ungvarsky, mentioned in an electronic mail that the case was filed with an anticipation that Epps would plead responsible to the cost. The choose has scheduled a plea settlement listening to for Wednesday.
Epps, a one-time supporter of President Donald Trump who has mentioned 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 hassle that might be blamed on Trump supporters, his lawsuit claims.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, in an look earlier than the House Judiciary Committee in July, denied having any data of Epps being a “secret government agent.”
“I will say this notion that somehow the violence at the Capitol on January 6 was part of some operation orchestrated by FBI sources and agents is ludicrous,” Wray instructed 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 pressured him and his spouse to promote their residence. At the time of the interview, they had been dwelling in a leisure car within the Rocky Mountains, in line with “60 Minutes.”
“I had to do the necessary things to keep my family safe,” Epps mentioned.
Although 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 mentioned. Messages searching for remark had been despatched Tuesday to Fox News and a lawyer for Carlson.
Epps’ lawsuit towards Fox says the Justice Department instructed him in May that he faces felony prices for his actions on Jan. 6 and blames that on “the relentless attacks by Fox and Mr. Carlson and the resulting political pressure.”
The lawsuit consists of threatening messages Epps says he obtained, together with one which reads, “Epps, sleep with one eye open.”
During his January 2022 interview with the Jan. 6 House Committee, Epps, who labored as a roofer after serving 4 years as infantry within the U.S. Marine Corps, instructed investigators that he by no means labored for the FBI.
“The only time I’ve been involved with the government was when I was a Marine in the United States Marine Corps,” Epps mentioned.
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 number of years earlier than the Jan. 6 assault, he mentioned. He mentioned the Oath Keepers had been “too radical” for him. Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and different members had been convicted of seditious conspiracy within the Jan. 6 assault.
Asked if he had any perception as to why he hadn’t been charged with against the law for his function within the riot, Epps instructed House investigators that he was “trying to stop the violence, trying to keep people from getting themselves in more trouble.”
Epps mentioned he was getting dying threats and his grandchildren had been “being picked on at school because of what their grandad did.”
More than 1,100 folks have been charged with federal crimes stemming from the Jan. 6 riot, and authorities proceed to often deliver 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 line with an Associated Press evaluation of court docket information.
Richer reported from Boston. Associated Press reporters David Bauder contributed from New York.