A man who has been the subject of conspiracy theories about the Capitol riot has been charged with disorderly conduct for his actions at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The information filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., says Ray Epps knowingly engaged in “disorderly and disruptive conduct” on restricted federal grounds. The court scheduled an arraignment and plea agreement hearing for Wednesday.
Epps has said he traveled to Washington from Arizona, attended then-President Donald Trump’s speech near the White House, and then went to the Capitol and was part of the mob on the west front of the building.
Republican members of Congress, eager to deflect blame from Trump for unleashing the attack on the Capitol, have suggested that Epps behaved suspiciously before and during the riot and that he might have been a government agent.
During a July hearing with FBI director Christopher Wray, Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) played clips of Epps on Jan. 5 telling other Trump supporters that they needed to go into the Capitol the next day. Nehls complained to Wray that other rioters had been arrested, but not Epps, even though he’d been on restricted grounds.
“If you don’t arrest Mr. Epps, the reason behind it, I believe you know what it is and it appears to me you are protecting this guy,” Nehls said.
Wray said he wouldn’t talk about whether the FBI would arrest certain individuals.
“If you are suggesting that the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was part of some operation orchestrated by FBI sources or FBI agents, the answer is no, it was not,” Wray said. “And to suggest otherwise is a disservice to our hardworking, dedicated law enforcement profession.”
In January 2022, Epps told the special House committee that investigated the riot that he did not have any affiliation with any federal or local law enforcement agency.
“The only time I’ve been involved with the government was when I was a Marine in the United States Marine Corps,” Epps told the committee.
Earlier this year, Epps sued Fox News for portraying him as a government-sponsored instigator of the riot. During his deposition with the Jan. 6 committee, he described death threats he had received and complained that several members of Congress, including Reps. Majorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), fueled the bogus speculation that he was a government agent.
“The leaders that try to ― try to ride this thing for gain, for whatever purpose they’re doing it, I just believe that they could do better,” he said. “It’s saddened me because I ― I respected these people.”