The Department of Justice has announced that it intends to pursue criminal charges against Ray Epps, a Trump supporter and former Marine, for his role in the events of January 6th, 2021. Epps has been accused of inciting violence and encouraging people to storm the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. during the certification of the 2020 Presidential election results. Epps' attorney has confirmed that he will be detained and charged for his behavior on that day.
Ray Epps is a former Marine and Trump supporter who attended the protests that took place in Washington, D.C. on January 6th, 2021. He has been accused of being a major instigator of the disturbances that occurred that day. Epps was seen on camera several times on January 5th and 6th aggressively urging people to storm the Capitol. However, he avoided prosecution and fled to an unspecified location soon after.
According to the specifics of his civil complaint against Fox News, Epps is currently facing criminal charges from the DOJ almost three years after the incident. His complaint alleges that the "relentless attacks" by Fox News and Tucker Carlson resulted in the criminal charges he is now facing. The complaint further blames Fox News for the criminal charges, stating that "it is difficult to believe that the Department of Justice would have pursued this matter if Fox had not focused its lies on Epps, ultimately the criminal charges conclusively demonstrate the falsehood of the story that Mr. Carlson and Fox told about Epps."
Fox News is being sued for defamation by Epps, who alleges that the network presented him as a federal agent to be a "scapegoat" during their media coverage. The lawsuit states that during "the aftermath of the events of January 6th, Fox News searched for a scapegoat to blame," and "turned on one of their own." Epps is a Trump supporter and attended the protest on January 6th.
During coverage of the event, rumors spread from the network that Epps "was an undercover FBI agent and was responsible for the mob that violently broke into the Capitol." The court documents for the case say that during the aftermath of the events of January 6th, Fox News searched for a scapegoat to blame. It goes on to say that the network "turned on one of their own."
According to FBI records, Epps traveled to Washington on January 4th and planned to attend the "Stop the Steal" rally. He wore his Trump hat and was excited to go. Epps and his wife are from Arizona and moved to Utah in 2022. He is a "former Marine who voted for Donald Trump twice" and watched Fox News often.
On the day of January 5th, Epps went out as he heard about a confrontation between Black Lives Matter protestors and Trump supporters. He thought, with his experience in the Marines, he could calm the situation. He was caught on camera saying, "We need to go into the Capitol."
On January 6th, at the Capitol building, Epps was seen on camera several times aggressively urging people to storm the Capitol. According to FBI records, Epps told a protester trying to breach a barricade the following day, "Relax, the cops are doing their job."
The lawsuit against Fox News extensively criticizes Tucker Carlson and the network for the way in which information regarding Epps was disseminated. It further states that at the time Carlson's segments were broadcast, Fox was aware that the allegations against Epps were untrue.
To fulfill "evidence of actual malice," a necessary point for defamation, the lawsuit points to Fox's knowledge of using "unreliable sources" and "ignoring information and evidence" that contradicted claims about Epps.
Finally, in May 2023, the Department of Justice notified Epps that it would seek to charge him criminally for events on January 6th, 2021--two-and-a-half years later. This announcement follows a lengthy investigation into the events of that day, during which Epps had been charged with being a federal asset because he was a major player in the J6 riots but had never received any sort of punishment.