Ray Epps, a man accused of participating in the Jan. 6th Capitol riot and encouraging protestors to storm the Capitol, said in a defamation lawsuit against Fox News that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is charging him for his alleged role in the attack.
Epps says Fox News defamed him and alleged he was a federal agent because he had not been charged in relation to the Capitol riot. Video footage appeared to show Epps pushing for Trump supporters to “go into the Capitol. Peacefully.” (RELATED: Fox News Settles With Dominion In Defamation Case)
“Epps was not a federal agent. He was a loyal Fox viewer and Trump supporter. Had the Department of Justice charged Epps in 2021, Mr. Carlson would have hailed Epps a hero. Instead, Fox and Mr. Carlson made Epps the central figure in a lie they concocted about January 6, 2021. After destroying Epps’s reputation and livelihood, Fox will move on to its next story, while Ray and Robyn live in a 350-square foot RV and face harassment and fear true harm. Fox must be held accountable,” the lawsuit states.
Epps’ lawsuit says the DOJ notified him in May 2023 that he would be charged for his alleged role in the Capitol riot. It also blamed Fox News for the DOJ’s decision to file charges and accused former Fox News host and Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson of making “defamatory statements” about Epps’ alleged role in the Capitol riot.
“Finally, in May 2023, the Department of Justice notified Epps that it would seek to charge him criminally for events on January 6, 2021—two-and-a-half years later. The relentless attacks by Fox and Mr. Carlson and the resulting political pressure likely resulted in the criminal charges … Although 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,” the lawsuit reads.
Epps says his life has been ruined by alleged threats and intimidation as a result of the allegations. He and his wife left their Arizona home and sold their business because of the harassment, according to his lawsuit.
Epps filed his defamation lawsuit Wednesday in Superior Court in Delaware and the network is moving to have the venue changed to the federal district court in Wilmington, Delaware, according to the New York Times. Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Video footage from a livestream on Jan. 5th, 2021 appears to show Epps firing up Trump supporters and encouraging them to go into the Capitol the following day. ““I’m probably gonna go to jail for this. Tomorrow, we need to go into the Capitol,” Epps appears to yell. Members of the crowd chanted “fed, fed, fed” at Epps, as he added that it should be done “peacefully.”
I hope Tucker’s lawyers force Ray Epps to explain why he was never arrested by the FBI despite literally telling people to go into the Capitolpic.twitter.com/rh0ydFdzBE
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) July 12, 2023
Epps says he made the remarks because he “sought to prove that he was on their side so that he could deescalate the situation,” according to the lawsuit. He believed the Trump supporters were trying to incite violence against police and Black Lives Matter protestors.
The FBI’s Washington Field Office referred the Daily Caller to the DOJ’s database with the charges and sentences for Capitol rioters. Epps’ name is not included on the database and no press releases have been issued about potential charges against him.
The U.S. Attorney’s office for Washington, D.C. told the Daily Caller it cannot confirm or deny the existence of investigations. The FBI’s press office referred the Daily Caller to the U.S. Attorney’s office for D.C.
More than two years after the Capitol riot, 1,069 defendants have been charged in nearly all 50 states and D.C. for the Capitol breach, according to the DOJ. An estimated 350 defendants have been charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding Capitol police officers or employees.
Epps’ attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment.