Ray Epps to plead guilty to Jan. 6 misdemeanor in wake of conspiracy theories

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Ray Epps, a former Oath Keepers chapter president who urged protesters “to go into the Capitol” on Jan. 6, 2021, is expected to plead guilty to a federal charge of disrupting the certification of the 2020 election — years after other participants in the riot were charged and after rumors circulated that Epps himself was an undercover federal agent.

Washington, DC, US Attorney Matthew Graves hit Epps, an ex-leader of the Arizona Oath Keepers, with one misdemeanor count of disorderly or disruptive conduct of government business in a restricted building or grounds, according to a Monday court filing.

Epps faces a potential fine and up to one year in prison if convicted. His attorney, Edward Ungvarsky, told The Post he anticipates his client will plead guilty but declined to comment further.

Ray EppsRay Epps, a former Oath Keepers chapter president who urged protesters “to go into the Capitol” on Jan. 6, 2021, is expected to plea guilty for a charge of disrupting the certification of the 2020 election.Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
DC US Attorney Matthew GravesUS Attorney Matthew Graves hit Epps, an ex-leader of the Arizona Oath Keepers, with one misdemeanor count for disorderly or disruptive conduct of government business in a restricted building or grounds, according to court filings.The Washington Post via Getty Images

Graves’ office declined to comment. Assistant US Attorney Michael Gordon is listed as the lead prosecutor on the case in the filings.

A former Marine and onetime supporter of former President Donald Trump, Epps was seen in video footage speaking with “Stop the Steal” rallygoers the night before the riot and later entering a restricted area at the Capitol.

“I’m gonna put it out there. I’m probably gonna go to jail for this. Tomorrow, we need to go into the Capitol! Into the Capitol!” Epps said, earning accusations then from onlookers — and later from Republican lawmakers — that he may have been a “fed” attempting to instigate the riot.

Former President Donald TrumpA Marine veteran and onetime supporter of former President Donald Trump, Epps was seen in video footage speaking with “Stop the Steal” rallygoers the night before the protest.REUTERS

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson later ran segments that showed Epps exhortation, along with other footage of Epps directing protesters to the Capitol and whispering to one before breaching a barricade.

Other Fox News hosts, such as Laura Ingraham and Will Cain, also showed footage of Epps on Jan. 6 and speculated about whether he was acting on behalf of US intelligence agencies.

Epps sued Fox News earlier this year for defamation after being accused of covertly working as a government agent. Brian Farnan, the lead attorney representing him in that case, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Tucker Carlson and former President Donald TrumpFormer Fox News host Tucker Carlson later ran segments that showed the exchange along with other incidents captured on video of Epps directing protesters to the Capitol.Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In the Fox lawsuit, Epps’ legal team said he had been warned that the Justice Department may still charge him for his actions on Jan. 6, an outcome they believed was due to “the relentless attacks by Fox and Mr. Carlson and the resulting political pressure.”

When questioned by members of Congress earlier this year, FBI Director Christopher Wray said Epps was not an undercover agent and that it was “ludicrous” to suggest the Capitol riot was “orchestrated” by the bureau.

In another exchange, Wray clarified that he “referred very specifically to undercover agents.”

Ray EppsEpps sued Fox News earlier this year for defamation after being accused of covertly working as a government agent.Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Jill Sanborn, the executive assistant director of the FBI’s national security branch, had earlier declined to share information about Epps during a January 2022 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

“M​y question to you​ — and this is not an ordinary law enforcement question,​ t​his is a question of public accountability​ — ​d​id federal agents or those in service of federal agent​s​ actively encourage violent and criminal conduct​ on Jan. 6​?” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) pressed Sanborn.

She replied that she couldn’t disclose “sources and methods.”​​

Former President Donald Trump speaks to his supporters on the Ellipse Jan. 6, 2021.Epps has also testified to the House January 6th Committee last year that he never worked for the FBI.AFP via Getty Images

Epps told CBS News reporter Bill Whitaker on “60 Minutes” earlier this year he has been “on the run” with his wife in an RV since receiving threats over his alleged coordination with federal law enforcement.

He also testified to the House January 6th select committee last year that he never worked for the FBI.

DC Circuit Court Chief Judge James E. Boasberg has set a Sept. 20 hearing date.

More than 500 rioters have entered guilty pleas for their participation in the Jan. 6 riot. Between 700 and 1,200 more may still be charged, according to an October 2022 letter Graves sent to then-DC Circuit Chief Judge Beryl Howell.

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