Ray Epps, a protester filmed during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol who became the focus of online theories about the government plotting the incident, was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct this week.
He faces one count of knowingly engaging in “disorderly and disruptive conduct” with the “intent to impede and disrupt” the government’s planned activity on Jan. 6, 2021, according to a Monday filing.
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Supporters of Donald Trump are seen waving flags in front of the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.
(Graeme Jennings / Washington Examiner)
Epps previously filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News and former opinion host Tucker Carlson over their portrayal of him, according to a July filing.
Monday’s charges state that then-Vice President Mike Pence was presiding over the joint session of Congress for the certification of the 2020 election. Epps’s conduct “did in fact impede and disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business and official functions,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves wrote in the short two-page filing.
One night before the riot, Epps was captured on several camera angles telling a group of pro-Trump supporters that they should “go into the Capitol” following former President Donald Trump’s speech that took place the next day.
A lack of any charges against Epps until now compelled some online conspiracies to percolate that Epps was somehow a federal officer who was planted to agitate other protesters.
During an interview with the House Jan. 6 committee last year, Epps said he went to Washington in early January 2021 to support Trump after he lost the 2020 election, but he noted the conspiracies that followed have significantly disrupted his life.
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“I never intended to break the law,” Epps, a former Marine, told the committee. “It’s not in my DNA. I’ve never — I’m sure you’ve looked up my record. I don’t break the law.”
Theories surrounding Epps have circulated in right-wing circles since the riot. His name was even involved during the trial of Dominic Pezzola, a member of the Proud Boys who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his actions on Jan. 6.