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Trump protester Ray Epps charged with Jan. 6 riot crime

Ray Epps, wearing Trump’s red hat, center, gestures to others as people gather on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, January 6, 2021.

Kent Nishimura | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

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

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

A plea agreement hearing for Epps is scheduled to take place on Zoom Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET before U.S. District Judge James Boasberg.

A former member of the right-wing group Oath Keepers, Epps traveled to Washington, D.C., to protest on January 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. during the Electoral College vote.

Mike Pence, then vice president, was presiding over the session before a horde of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol, causing lawmakers to flee.

Epps came under suspicion from others on the right after he was seen in a video taken on January 5, 2021, showing him on the street encouraging others to “enter the Capitol.”

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Since then, he has been at the center of a false conspiracy theory that the FBI caused the riot. Some mainstream conservative voices in the media and in government have questioned his actions and questioned why he was not criminally charged by the U.S. Department of Justice, along with other protesters who were at the Capitol January 6th.

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

In the filing Monday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Epps was charged with one count of knowingly engaging in “disorderly and disruptive conduct” with “intent to obstruct and to disrupt” government activity which will take place on January 6.

Epps’ conduct “effectively obstructed and disrupted the orderly conduct of governmental business and official functions,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves wrote in the two-page disclosure.

An attorney for Epps in his defamation lawsuit did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment on Epps’ criminal charge.


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