One of the enigmas of the January 6, 2021 “insurrection” at the US Capitol is a guy named Ray Epps.
Epps, when he’s up and has his pants on, is a retired Marine who runs a farm and manages a wedding venue in Arizona. The exact timing is unclear, but as recently as 2011, he was/is the president of the Arizona chapter of the Oath Keepers. This is a group that, like the Three-Percenters, the federal government and its lackeys in the media have tried to demonize and cast as some sort of latter-day Sturmabteilung hellbent on overthrowing the Constitution.
Highly Visible January 6 Demonstrator
On January 6, Epps was a highly visible figure in the crowd, bedecked in a MAGA hat, exhorting the crowd to push their way into the Capitol.
In a pair of videos, he seems to have been involved in organizing a breach of the police barrier using a giant Trump sign.
First, he is shown talking to the Capitol Police before the sign is used as a weapon.
In this one, you can glimpse a man of the same size, hair color, and wearing what looks to the untrained eye to be identical clothing to Ray Epps helping hurl the sign onto police.
Though I could be mistaken as I’m not a highly trained FBI analyst.
After the “insurrection” he texted his nephew, “I was in the front with a few others. I orchestrated it.”
🚨 Ray Epps in text message with nephew. “I was up front with a few others. I also orchestrated it”
Ray Epps: “We need to go INTO the Capitol, INTO the Capitol” #J6 #J6politicalprisoners 🚨 pic.twitter.com/GDVhucDK2Z
— Chad (@Not_ADemocracy) March 23, 2023
Wanted, and Then Not Wanted, By the FBI
The story gets hinkier when the government treats the trespass at the Capitol as something worse than 9/11 and begins a nationwide dragnet to arrest anyone involved in the protest…except the cops that murdered Ashli Babbit and Roseanne Boyland.
At first, Epps was on the FBI’s most wanted list. Here is the original bulletin.
On the FBI’s “Capitol Violence Images” website, Epps was “Photograph #16.” In the image below, on the left, you can see the website as it appeared in February 2022 and as it appears today.
According to Epps, he saw himself on the list and called the FBI, himself.
Just two days after the attack, when Mr. Epps saw himself on a list of suspects from Jan. 6, he called an F.B.I. tip line and told investigators that he had tried to calm Mr. Samsel down when they spoke, according to three people who have heard a recording of the call. Mr. Epps went on to say that he explained to Mr. Samsel that the police outside the building were merely doing their jobs, the people said.
The FBI took his word for it and removed him from the list.
This Daily Mail article has lots of great information on Epps. If you want a deep dive into Epps’s January 6 Committee testimony, check out Raheem Kassam’s Substack post.
Ted Cruz, Devin Nunes, Julie Kelly, and Kash Patel Discuss What We Know About Epps
Ray Epps and the January 6 Committee
Incredibly, Ray Epps appeared before the January 6 Committee to deny that he was an FBI provocateur or confidential human source. Perhaps the most amazing thing that came out of that interview was Epps denying that he was on the FBI payroll in any form was enough to “debunk” the entire Ray Epps saga.
NY Times: New Evidence Undercuts Jan. 6 Instigator Conspiracy Theory.
NBC News: Jan. 6 committee dismisses Ray Epps conspiracy theory, issues new subpoenas.
FactCheck (lololol): Jan. 6 Conspiracy Theory Centers on Baseless Claim About Ray Epps.
RawStory: Another MAGA conspiracy theory implodes: Arizona man was not an FBI plant to stage Jan. 6 attack after all.
Again, the sole data point presented to clear Epps of any role in the January 6 shenanigans is literally Ray Epps saying, “I didn’t do it.” If that was all it took, there would be fewer lawyers, and we could close most of the jails.
Enter Tucker Carlson
Tucker Carlson had January 6 video released to him by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Brace for Impact: Tucker Carlson Gets Thousands of Hours of January 6 Footage From McCarthy). He finally got around to exploring Ray Epps’s activities and pointing out that he lied to the January 6 Committee about his whereabouts and activities.
Ray Epps Demands Satisfaction
The attention Carlson brought on Epps’s rather exotic recitation of events led him to engage counsel to send Carlson a “cease and desist” letter along with a demand for an on-air apology.
A lawyer for Ray Epps, the man at the center of a prominent conspiracy theory about the Capitol riot, sent a letter on Thursday to the Fox News host Tucker Carlson demanding that he publicly retract his “false and defamatory statements” that Mr. Epps had worked as a government provocateur on Jan. 6, 2021, and helped to instigate the mob attack.
The letter to Mr. Carlson from the lawyer, Michael Teter, also demanded a “formal on-air apology for the lies” that have been “spread about Mr. Epps” by others at Fox.
“The fanciful notions that Mr. Carlson advances on his show regarding Mr. Epps’s involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection are demonstrably (and already proven to be) false,” Mr. Teter wrote. “And yet Mr. Carlson persists with his assault on the truth.”
Tucker Carlson and Fox News Hit with Cease & Desist Letter. The legal team representing 𝐑𝐚𝐲 and 𝐑𝐨𝐛𝐲𝐧 𝐄𝐩𝐩𝐬 today sent a cease-and-desist letter to Tucker Carlson and Fox News, demanding that they stop making up lies about Ray Epps and that… pic.twitter.com/1i02gEOian
— 𝐌𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐒® (@M_C0MS) March 23, 2023
Michael Teter is also the “managing director” of “The 65 Project,” an alleged “bipartisan” group that is going after the law licenses of three of Kari Lake’s attorneys.
From the elements of proof that Epps’s attorney lays out in the letter and the NY Times article linking this letter to the Dominion Voting lawsuit, it would seem they hope to use the discovery process to establish that Carlson did not believe what he was saying on his show.
Fox and Carlson have until March 31 to comply. At that point, we’ll find out if Epps is serious about opening his phone records, texts, and emails to Fox’s lawyers because discovery goes both ways.