Ray Epps, The Capitol Assailant Who Has Sued Fox News For Spreading The Hoax That He Was An FBI Infiltrator

In the alternative reality of Tucker Carlson, the star presenter of the American television network foxnews struck down overnight in April, the assault on the Capitol was a big lie fabricated by the so-called Deep State. In that worldview, in which, of course, Joe Biden did not win the elections, all kinds of conspiracy theories fit. Some theories that had convinced Ray Epps, a conservative resident of Arizona, to go to Washington on January 6, 2021 in defense of who he believed was the legitimate president of the United States, Donald Trump.

Trump and the assault on the Capitol: all the evidence that incriminates the former president

Trump and the assault on the Capitol: all the evidence that incriminates the former president



What this convinced Republican did not imagine is that, shortly after that appointment with history, which became the biggest attack that American democracy has experienced to date, he himself would become a central part of a conspiracy theory amplified by his reference channel, foxnews.

In his eagerness to feed Trump’s post-truth, Carlson spread the hoax during prime time that Epps was actually an infiltrated federal agent, whose objective had been to encourage the mob to violently assault the Capitol and thus damage the image of the outgoing president. A statement that a large part of his viewers believed, who continue to trust this and other statements without any certainty.

The evidence that Carlson presented to his hearing was a video from January 5 in which a group yelled at him “Fed! fed! fed!” and other images from the same day of the attack, in which Epps appears whispering something in the ear of another protester, minutes before he and the others broke through the security perimeter of the Capitol.

Two and a half years after the fateful day, the man has denounced foxnews for defamation, for having promoted a “fantasy story” that he was an undercover FBI agent to incite the insurrection, in which 2,500 people tried to stop the certification of Joe Biden as president, which was taking place inside the iconic federal building.

From hero to villain

Epps denounces that he was singled out as a “villain” of the Trump movement, which caused him personal harm, such as numerous death threats.

The conservative became the target of top-tier Republicans like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas or Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky, who focused their concerns on Epps. T-shirts with the inscription “Arrest Ray Epps” were even sold online and several songs were made on YouTube, something that turned it “into a caricature of conspiracy theories,” according to the complaint.

As a result of the persecution and threats, the complainant – who had voted for Trump twice – and his wife were forced to sell their ranch and their wedding business in Arizona to move to a remote area in the mountains of Utah.

The Capitol assailant, turned victim of a conspiracy theory, had the opportunity to defend himself in a hearing in January of last year before the congressional commission that investigated the assault on the Capitol – until it was dissolved by the Republican majority that came out of the polls last November -. Epps explained, under oath, that his entire life had been linked to American conservatism: he was involved with the Tea Party and the Oath Keepers militia, far-right groups that he left, considering they had become “too radical.”

Far from being an FBI insider, his entire life dovetailed with that of a rural, conservative man who had been won over by Trump’s anti-democratic arguments. Before the commission, he claimed that he was in the Marine Corps, but other than that he had never worked for law enforcement or spoken with federal agencies, such as the FBI, CIA or National Security Agency.

Other allegations against Fox News

Epps, who is seeking damages, has filed the complaint in Delaware Superior Court. Precisely, in that same court, Fox News agreed last April to pay 787.5 million dollars (just over 700 million euros) to Dominion Voting Systems to avoid a defamation trial, for spreading the hoax that the company had participated in the alleged rigging of the 2020 elections.

“Like Fox did with the voting machine company, by falsely claiming the election was rigged, it needed a scapegoat for January 6,” according to Epps’s lawsuit.

This is the last legal battle he faces foxnews for its coverage of the events that have occurred since the 2020 presidential elections, full of falsehoods and hoaxes that have fueled polarization, hatred, and the creation of incompatible worldviews between the two US political camps.

In addition to the complaint that ended in an agreement between Dominion and the television network, it faces another lawsuit for 2.7 billion dollars (about 2.426 million euros) from a voting company, Smartmatic, and two separate lawsuits from Fox Corporation shareholders.

On the other hand, on June 30, it also resolved for 12 million dollars (almost 11 million euros) the complaint from a former Carlson producer, who alleged that the presenter had tolerated and fostered a toxic work environment.



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