Ray Epps, rioter at centre of conspiracy theory, charged over January 6

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Ray Epps – a Donald Trump supporter, Oath Keepers militia subordinate and January 6 subordinate who became the taxable of rightwing conspiracy theories astir the onslaught connected Congress – has been charged with 1 transgression number related to the riot.

In a tribunal filing successful US territory tribunal successful Washington DC, dated Monday, national prosecutors charged Epps with disorderly oregon disruptive behaviour successful a restricted gathering oregon grounds.

The complaint tin transportation a condemnation of up to 10 years.

A erstwhile US marine from Arizona, Epps went to Washington successful January 2021 to articulation protesters seeking to artifact Joe Biden’s triumph implicit Trump successful the statesmanlike predetermination the erstwhile November.

On the nighttime of 5 January, helium was filmed successful downtown Washington, telling different Trump supporters: “Tomorrow, we request to spell into the Capitol … peacefully.”

The adjacent day, arsenic Trump told supporters to “fight similar hell” successful his cause, the Capitol came nether attack. The onslaught failed and Trump’s decision was confirmed. Nine deaths person present been linked to the riot.

The conception that Epps was a national agent, acting arsenic a provocateur, took basal early. On the nighttime of 5 January, immoderate astir him chanted: “Fed! Fed! Fed! Fed!” In footage of the attack, aft a Capitol constabulary serviceman went down, Epps was seen pulling a rioter aside.

Rightwing media, prominently including the past Fox News prime-time big Tucker Carlson, eagerly took up the mentation that Epps was linked to national agents.

In July, Epps filed a defamation suit against Fox News, which the rightwing web has sought to dismiss.

Epps spoke to CBS successful August.

“I said immoderate anserine things,” helium said. “My thought process, we situation the Capitol, we get each the radical there. I mean, I had problems with the election. It was my work arsenic an American to peacefully protest, on with anybody other that wanted to.”

Of the infinitesimal involving the fallen officer, helium said helium told the rioter: “‘Dude, we’re not present for that. The constabulary aren’t the enemy,’ oregon thing similar that.”

He denied immoderate links to constabulary oregon national agencies. There is nary grounds helium committed immoderate acts of unit connected January 6, oregon entered the Capitol.

He told CBS that aft helium went to assistance an injured man, helium “looked backmost astatine the Capitol, and determination was radical crawling up the Capitol walls. And it looked … terrible. I mean, I was benignant of ashamed of what was going connected astatine that point. So I started to locomotion out.”

Asked astir efforts to “paint you arsenic this instigator”, citing his ain actions and messages, Epps said: “There was an effort to marque maine a scapegoat.”

Earlier this year, Dominic Pezzola, a subordinate of the far-right Proud Boys radical who was yet sentenced to 10 years successful situation for his portion successful the riot, invoked the Epps conspiracy mentation portion testifying successful court.

Epps was charged by information, suggesting a plea woody whitethorn beryllium likely.

On Tuesday, lawyers for Epps did not instantly comment.

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