Ray Epps, a former Oath Keeper member who became the target of Jan. 6 conspiracy theories spread by many Republicans, has been charged in connection with the attacks at the U.S. Capitol.
The Justice Department charged Epps on Monday with a single misdemeanor count of disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted area via a criminal information, which is often an indication a defendant is prepared to plead guilty.
Epps’ attorney, Edward Ungvarsky told ABC News he anticipates a guilty plea to the charge.
Epps said he went to D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021, to protest the 2020 election. Republicans accused him of being an undercover federal agent that urged supporters of former President Donald Trump to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Epps had long denied being an informant or federal agent, including in testimony before the Jan. 6 House select committee. Epps, who worked as a roofer after he served as infantry in the U.S. Marine Corps, told the House investigators that he never worked for the FBI.
He has since filed a defamation suit against Fox News and former host Tucker Carlson for repeated segments spreading the conspiracy theory he was acting undercover, which he has said resulted in threats and harassment that upended his life.
Carlson featured Epps in more than two dozen segments, according to his lawsuit. As a result of these prime-time reports and Fox’s alleged defamatory statements, Epps received threats from Trump supports, according to the lawsuit. Additionally, Epps and his wife had to move from their Arizona ranch and now face financial turmoil, the lawsuit says.
Epps noted in his lawsuit that he wanted a peaceful demonstration on Jan. 6 and was “shocked and disappointed” at how the events of the day unfolded.
“He had concerns about the election and believed it was his duty as a citizen to participate in the protest. But he did not believe violence was appropriate,” the lawsuit claims.
The Justice Department did not have any additional comments on Epps’ charges Monday.
Source : ABC News