Ray Epps to be quizzed by 6 January committee after wild conspiracy pushed by Tucker Carlson and Trump

Mr Epps is tied to a conspiracy theory that alleges he is a government plant

Shweta Sharma
Thursday 20 January 2022 05:47
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<p>A man appearing to be Ray Epps filmed speaking to a crowd on 5 January</p>

A man appearing to be Ray Epps filmed speaking to a crowd on 5 January

Ray Epps, an Arizona man accused by Trump supporters of being an undercover agent who provoked people to enter the Capitol building, will be interviewed by the House select committee on Friday.

Mr Epps will sit for a transcribed interview over Zoom with the committee investigating the Capitol riot, his attorney John Blischak confirmed to The Arizona Republic newspaper.

“I would rather wait until that interview was completed before disclosing anything. I have nothing otherwise to hide. It’s nothing I’m worried about,” Mr Blischak said.

Mr Epps had met with the committee in November when he told the investigators that he had no connection with any of the law enforcement agencies.

Mr Epps, who has ties to the Arizona chapter of the extremist Oath Keeper group, has been tied to a conspiracy theory that claims, without evidence, he was a secret government plant who told Trump supporters to enter the Capitol building on 6 January.

The claims are based on speculation that emerged around Mr Epps not being charged in connection to the riot on that day.

Mr Epps is a 60-year-old Queen Creek resident who runs a business that hosts weddings and corporate events at a five-acre farm.

He was seen in social media videos taken a night before the insurrection that showed him urging the crowd to “go into the Capitol”.

He had also joined the crowd just before 1pm on 6 January at the front of a line of Trump supporters who first breached the barricades.

There is, however, no evidence that he had entered the Capitol building that day or that he was connected to federal law enforcement.

The former president referred to him by his name during a rally in Florence last week and went on to suggest the unproved conspiracy theory that undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents had joined the crowd on 6 January.

“Exactly how many of those present at the Capitol complex on January 6 were FBI confidential informants, agents or otherwise, working directly or indirectly with an agency of the United States government,” Mr Trump had asked a rally of supporters. “People want to hear this.”

“How about the one guy, ‘go in, go in, get in there everybody’ — Epps,” Mr Trump said to the crowd.

“Nothing happens to him. What happened with him. Nothing happened. Did any of these individuals play a role in proving or facilitating the events at the Capitol? That’s what we want to know.”

The claims were then elevated by conservatives such as right-wing talk show host Tucker Carlson.

According to his attorney, Mr Epps and his wife have received death threats. His attorney said: “It’s been very traumatising.”

Speculation increased after the FBI removed Mr Epps from the suspect list, six months after the attack.

The 6 January committee, however, has outright denied he was a federal agent or informant.

“Mr Epps informed us that he was not employed by, working with, or acting at the direction of any law enforcement agency on January 5th or 6th or at any other time, and that he has never been an informant for the FBI or any other law enforcement agency,” a select committee spokesperson said.

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