Once, Ray Epps was a supporter of former President Donald Trump. He even joined others at the U.S. Capitol last year after Trump’s “Stop the Steal” speech. However, now he’s over the former president’s disinformation and considering defamation cases against some of those who’ve spread it.
Epps became the center of controversy and conspiracy theories following January 6th, 2021, because he was seen in videos from the day before discussing the possibility of entering the Capitol. Trump allies jumped at the opportunity for a scapegoat, claiming that Epps must be a secret FBI plant who conned the mob into entering the Capitol — despite all the evidence that groups including the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers had been plotting the attack in advance, even transporting weapons to a nearby site.
Since then, numerous right-wing politicians and media personalities — including some legislators who were part of the meetings in advance of January 6th — have pointed the proverbial finger at Epps.
Will the @January6thCmte ever bring in Ray Epps to testify to their TDS committee about why he was telling huge crowds of people to go in the Capitol the night of J5?
And what did Epps whisper to the guy who took the fence down as he was telling people to go in?
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) June 28, 2022
Why is Ray Epps not charged for J6?
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) April 1, 2022
However, the January 6th Committee interviewed Epps early in their investigation, and while they have not released the contents of their discussion, they were able to dismiss as false the conspiracy theories centered around him.
The Committee has interviewed Epps. Epps informed us that he was not employed by, working with, or acting at the direction of any law enforcement agency on Jan 5th or 6th or at any other time, & that he has never been an informant for the FBI or any other law enforcement agency.
— January 6th Committee (@January6thCmte) January 11, 2022
Now, Epps tells the New York Times that being the center of a popular conspiracy theory has negatively affected his life, and he wants to do something about it.
He says he’s been sent death threats, has had trespassers on his property and found evidence of someone shooting at one of the buildings on the property, and that he’s faced distrust and distancing from members of his church and his family. He was finally forced by circumstances to sell his home and go into hiding.
Epps says that, like countless others who attended the rallies that day, even though he was inside the barriers at the Capitol Building, he never actually entered the building, and he cites evidence that he tried to get other members of the crowd to stand down. He also responded immediately upon learning that federal law enforcement had questions for him. He’s far from the only individual to attend that day and face no charges.
Now he’s seeking legal representation, hoping to file defamation suits against some of the more prominent individuals who spread propaganda about him, and to get the ruth on the record.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com