Jan 9, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Ray Epps, center of Jan. 6 conspiracy theory, gets probation sentence

Ray Epps, in the red Trump hat, center, gestures to others as people gather on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Jan. 6 rioter, falsely deemed to be a covert FBI agent who helped incite the attack, was sentenced on Tuesday to a year of probation, court records revealed.

The big picture: Former President Trump, right-wing media outlets and Republican politicians pushed the baseless conspiracy theory, which reportedly prompted death threats against Ray Epps and led his family to leave Arizona.

  • Chief Judge James E. Boasberg also ordered Epps to pay a $25 special assessment and $500 in restitution, per court records.

Catch up quick: Epps pleaded guilty in September 2023 to a misdemeanor charge over his involvement in the riot.

  • The conspiracy theory against Epps began after obscure right-wing media outlets compiled heavily edited videos to portray him as a government agent, Axios' Jacob Knutson reported.

Between the lines: Epps filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News in July 2023, alleging that Fox News and former Fox News political commentator Tucker Carlson had spread a "fantastical story" about him.

  • The suit alleges that Fox News and Carlson had "commenced a years-long campaign spreading falsehoods about" Epps and that "those lies have destroyed" the lives of Epps and his wife, Robyn Epps.
  • Since then, Fox News said it has moved to dismiss Epps' lawsuit.

Of note: More than 1,265 people having been charged with crimes related to Jan. 6 in the three years since the attack, per the U.S. attorney's office for D.C.

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