Ray Epps, known as perhaps the most controversial figure who participated in the January 6, 2021 riots at the Capitol, was finally charged Tuesday with a single count of disorderly and disruptive conduct in an official building related to his actions that day.
U.S. Attorney for the District of Washington D.C. Matthew Graves filed the charge in the district’s court, alleging that Epps “did knowingly, and with the intent to impede and disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business and official functions, engage in disorderly and disruptive conduct” in a restricted building “where the Vice President was and would be temporarily visiting.”
JUST IN: Ray EPPS charged with single count for Jan. 6 conduct. https://t.co/jGdWGI0NMi
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) September 19, 2023
Since J6, Epps has emerged as a controversial figure in conservative circles for seemingly evading charges while hundreds of participants were sentenced or jailed in deplorable conditions awaiting trial. Commentators circulated rumors that Epps was somehow tied to the government and instigated the riots and cited video evidence of him encouraging participants to enter the Capitol at a time when it was closed to the public and Congress was certifying the results of the 2020 election.
On the eve of the riots, Epps was filmed telling onlookers that he would “probably go to jail” for entering the Capitol and encouraged listeners to follow his lead.
“We need to go INTO the Capitol, INTO the Capitol,” Epps yelled.
During the riots, another camera filmed Epps sporting a red Trump hat moments before he helped push over a barricade that led to a stampede over Capitol Police officers attempting to hold back a simmering crowd.
In July, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the House Judiciary Committee that Epps was not a government agent, calling the allegations “ludicrous” and a “disservice” to FBI agents. It was the first time in more than two years that the head of the Bureau recognized Epps under oath.
Reactions to the charge poured in on X Tuesday, with one commentator asking how an instigator like Epps could avoid a litany of other charges as well.
“This lame single charge tells us everything we need to know about Ray Epps,” wrote X user Julie Kelly. “No obstruction felony? No civil disorder charge? Not even a trespassing on restricted grounds misdemeanor? Epps not only encouraged people to go into the Capitol on Jan 5 and 6, he was one of the first to breach exterior lines, interfered with security, and remained on restricted grounds for more than an hour.”
This lame single charge tells us everything we need to know about Ray Epps.
No obstruction felony? No civil disorder charge? Not even a trespassing on restricted grounds misdemeanor?
Can't even tell you the last time I saw an "information" (misdemeanor version of indictment)… pic.twitter.com/zQ0rGT23ES
— Julie Kelly 🇺🇸 (@julie_kelly2) September 19, 2023
The theory about Epps’ involvement was promoted heavily by Tucker Carlson during his primetime show on Fox News, though later Carlson went on to reveal evidence that Epps potentially lied under oath.
Steven Sund, the Capitol Police Chief who wrote a book about his harrowing experience on J6, called into question the government’s sincerity in prosecuting Epps after years of using facial-recognition technology to identify nearly every participant in the breach of the Capitol building.
“Here you have a guy on camera repeatedly saying “We are going to the Capitol” and he is not in jail when people who did not go into the Capitol are in jail? What do you make of that?” Sund asked Tucker Carlson during a recent appearance.
Ep. 15 Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund reveals what really happened on January 6th. Our Fox News interview with him never aired, so we invited him back. pic.twitter.com/opDlu4QGlp
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) August 10, 2023