Trump protestor Ray Epps charged with January 6 riot crime

Ray Epps, in the red Trump hat, center, gestures to others as people gather on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2021.

Kent Nishimura | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Ray Epps, the pro-Trump protester who is the focus of right-wing conspiracy theories about the government orchestrating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, was charged with disorderly conduct for his actions that day.

Federal prosecutors lodged that single count against Epps on Monday in an information, a type of charging document routinely used when defendants have agreed to plead guilty. That filing notes that he was on restricted grounds at the U.S. Capitol during the riot.

A former member of the right-wing Oath Keepers group, Epps traveled to Washington, D.C., to protest on Jan. 6 when a joint session of Congress began meeting at the U.S. Capitol to confirm that President Joe Biden had defeated then-President Donald Trump in the Electoral College vote.

Then-Vice President Mike Pence was presiding over the session before a horde of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol, causing lawmakers to flee.

Epps fell under suspicion by others on the right after he was seen on video taken on Jan. 5, 2021, showing him on the streets encouraging others to “go into the Capitol.”

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He since has been at the center of a false conspiracy theory that the FBI provoked the riot. Some mainstream conservative voices in media and government questioned his actions and wondered why he had not been criminally charged by the Department of Justice along with other protestors who were at the Capitol on Jan.6.

In July, Epps filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News and its former opinion host Tucker Carlson over their coverage of him.

In Monday’s filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Epps was charged with one count of knowingly engaging in “disorderly and disruptive conduct” with the “intent to impede and disrupt” the government’s activity taking place on Jan. 6.

Epps’ conduct “did in fact impede and disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business and official functions,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves wrote in the two-page information.

An attorney for Epps in his defamation lawsuit did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment on him being criminally charged.


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