A former Marine whose actions on January 6 lead conspiracy theorists to assert he was an FBI infiltrator stated on Sunday that the right-wing rumor ruined his life – forcing him to promote his Arizona residence and dwell in an RV.
Ray Epps, 61, traveled to Washington, D.C. to again Donald Trump in his claims that the outcomes of the 2020 election have been fraudulent – however he quickly grew to become entwined within the occasions on the Capitol on January 6.
He was videotaped urging individuals to go to the Capitol, but not like 1,000 others he has by no means been charged – giving rise to the idea that he was a FBI plant, despatched to whip up the riot.
Final month, Epps’s lawyer despatched a letter to the Fox Information host Tucker Carlson demanding that he publicly retract his ‘false and defamatory statements’ that Epps had labored as a authorities provocateur.
Epps on Sunday spoke publicly for the primary time, telling 60 Minutes the concept of him being a FBI informant was ‘a lie’.
He stated: ‘Regardless of what number of occasions they push this lie, this conspiracy idea, it’s going to by no means develop into reality.’
Ray Epps on Sunday spoke publicly for the primary time about being labelled a FBI infiltrator throughout the January 6 riot
Video from the Capitol riot was used to assert that Ray Epps (pictured) was working covertly with the FBI to instigate the assault on January 6, 2021
Epps (proper) stated that he thought he might calm the crowds earlier than the Capitol was stormed
Epps on Sunday revealed that he had been compelled to promote his residence and enterprise in Arizona, and was now in hiding, dwelling in an RV within the Rocky Mountains.
‘I’ve a tough time, being a person, being a Marine, being on the run,’ he stated.
‘I needed to do the mandatory issues to maintain my household protected.’
Epps’s spouse, Robyn, added: ‘It is so unhappy what individuals have achieved to Ray and ourselves.’
On Sunday night time, the FBI for the primary time confirmed that Epps didn’t work for them, and by no means had.
‘Ray Epps has by no means been an FBI supply or an FBI worker,’ the company informed CBS’s 60 Minutes.
Epps was proven the footage of the riot by the 60 Minutes group, and stated he discovered it troublesome – including that he was ‘ashamed’ of getting been there.
‘Brings again some dangerous reminiscences,’ he stated, on seeing the clip. ‘It is arduous to see our Capitol below assault.’
Robyn added: ‘Some individuals have simply stated let it go, let it die down – however it simply would not.’
Epps, pictured together with his spouse, inside their new cell residence. They have been compelled to dwell in it following the fixed demise threats. They’re situated close to the Rocky Mountains, they informed the interviewer
Epps and his spouse Robyn are seen on Sunday night time sitting for an interview with 60 Minutes
Epps pictured close to the entrance of riots on January 6, 2021
Epps had his life turned the other way up after the conspiracies swirled – although he informed the January 6 committee that he went to Washington, D.C. on that journey to bond together with his son.
He stated that he was a robust Trump supporter, and believed the tales of the election being stolen by Joe Biden.
‘They’re all telling us, earlier than this factor, that it is stolen,’ he stated.
‘There was a sloppy election, after which to high that off you’ve got speaking heads saying there are issues with the voting machines.
‘So I wished to be there – I wished to see it with my very own eyes.’
At a rally on the eve of January 6, Epps, who at 6ft 4 stood out in a crowd, informed the group: ‘Now we have to go in to the Capitol.’
Epps has not been arrested or charged for his actions on January 6, although he was pictured within the crowd of rioters and caught on video urging individuals to storm the Capitol
Epps listed a sequence of tragic occasions which have plagued him because the conspiracy was began
He despatched a textual content to his nephew shortly after the riot, saying: ‘I orchestrated it.’ The textual content has been seized on as proof that Epps was intentionally stirring up the confrontation. However he insisted it was a foolish boast
He was requested by 60 Minutes why he wished Trump supporters to go to the Capitol.
‘I stated some silly issues,’ he stated.
‘My thought course of was: we encompass the Capitol, we get all of the individuals there. I had some points with the election.’
Epps insists that he was attempting to calm the scenario, and cease the gang from surging previous the barricades.
Police physique digicam footage confirms his account, and Epps by no means entered the constructing.
Shortly earlier than the preliminary barricade was breached, Epps, who was on the entrance line, is seen whispering within the ear of one other rioter – giving rise to the concept that he was instigating the push.
But Epps, requested what he stated, stated it was: ‘”Dude we’re not right here for that – the police are usually not the enemy.” One thing like that.’
Epps informed the Jan. 6 Committee in a transcript launched Thursday that his spouse, Robyn Ebbs (pictured) needed to transfer from their residence because of issues for her security following a flurry of threats
Robyn added: ‘He wasn’t a part of the violence. There is a huge distinction there.’
Epps nodded, saying: ‘I assumed I might cease it.’
Epps left the Capitol within the midst of the chaos, at 2:54pm, to assist evacuate a wounded individual, and stated that on seeing the storming of the Capitol he was ‘ashamed’.
The Capitol had been breached shortly after 2pm, and the constructing went into lockdown at 2:20pm. At 3pm, the rioters entered the Senate.
‘I regarded again on the Capitol and there was individuals crawling up the Capitol partitions,’ he stated.
‘And it regarded like – it regarded horrible.
‘I imply, I used to be type of ashamed of what was occurring at that time, so I began to stroll out.’
But he despatched a textual content to his nephew shortly after, saying: ‘I orchestrated it.’
The textual content has been seized on as proof that Epps was intentionally stirring up the confrontation. However he insisted it was a foolish boast.
‘I used to be boasting to my nephew,’ he stated on Sunday night time.
Requested what he meant by ‘orchestrating’ it, he defined: ‘I helped individuals get there. I used to be escorting individuals.’
Epps stated that he felt he was being singled out to distract from others.
‘There was an effort to make me a scapegoat,’ he stated.
The insurrectionists are seen surging into the constructing, with Mike Pence and others inside
Rioters erected a gallows outdoors the Capitol and have been chanting: ‘Dangle Mike Pence’
Pence was ushered to the car parking zone beneath the Capitol, however refused to get in his motorcade
‘QAnon Shaman’ Jacob Chansley, together with his bullhorn, is seen on January 6, 2021 contained in the Capitol
Epps stated that he apportions particular blame to Fox Information host Tucker Carlson.
The conspiracy idea started when fringe right-wing shops like Revolver Information took selectively edited video of Epps from the assault on the Capitol and used it to assert that he was a covert agent working for the FBI to instigate the riot, and make Trump supporters look dangerous.
Why did some consider Ray Epps was a FBI infiltrator despatched to instigate the riot?
Epps was one of many extra recognizable individuals on the riot – at 6ft 4, he stood out.
On January 5, because the Trump supporters milled round Washington DC on the eve of the rally, Epps spoke to journalists canvassing opinion and stated: ‘Now we have to go in to the Capitol.’
He was extremely seen on January 6, and was there when the barricades blocking the way in which to the Capitol have been knocked over – though he himself didn’t push them down.
He’s seen at one level whispering within the ear of somebody who then shoves the barricade: conspiracy theorists stated that that was Epps giving orders. Epps stated he informed the person to not assault police.
The hypothesis about Epps reached a frenzy when, after he spoke to the FBI, his face and identify have been faraway from a Needed poster.
Donald Trump, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene are a few of those that have claimed Epps is an FBI plant, despatched to spark the riot.
The FBI has lastly confirmed that Epps doesn’t work for them, and by no means has.
The concept was picked up and mentioned on Fox Information, on each Laura Ingraham and Carlson’s reveals.
Carlson has been significantly centered on the concept, and has referenced Epps no less than 20 occasions, 60 Minutes discovered – with a dozen references to date this yr.
‘He is obsessive about me,’ stated Epps.
‘He will any means attainable to destroy my life.
‘To shift blame onto someone else.’
Epps’s lawyer, Michael Teter, has demanded a ‘formal on-air apology for the lies’ which were ‘unfold about Mr Epps’ by others at Fox.
‘The fanciful notions that Mr Carlson advances on his present concerning Mr. Epps’s involvement within the Jan. 6 rebellion are demonstrably (and already confirmed to be) false,’ Teter wrote in a letter final month to Carlson.
‘And but Mr Carlson persists together with his assault on the reality.’
Letters looking for retractions and apologies are sometimes despatched when legal professionals are making ready to file a defamation lawsuit.
Tom Joscelyn, a terrorism researcher and creator who helped write the January 6 Committee report, stated Epps was undoubtedly not an instigator of the riot or mastermind, describing him as ‘a pebble on the bottom.’
‘I would not defend Ray Epps or anyone else who was on the Capitol grounds that day,’ Joscelyn informed 60 Minutes.
‘I simply defend the info.
‘So the concept that he is main the cost or actually orchestrating it’s simply contradicted by this mountain vary of proof.’
He stated he believed the give attention to Epps was to distract from Trump himself.
‘That is what the conspiracy theorists need you to do. They need you to give attention to the pebble on the bottom that’s Ray Epps.
‘In addition they don’t desire you to have a look at what President Trump was saying and doing.’
Epps stated he returned residence to Arizona on January 8, and was informed by a good friend that he was on a FBI Needed poster, in reference to the riot.
He instantly rang the FBI, and ‘informed them who I used to be and I’d cooperate in any approach I might.’
He added: ‘I did not break any legal guidelines.’
Epps sat for questioning two months later, and stated he was relieved to talk to them.
‘So, while you met with the FBI, I imply, it was like, lastly, we will clear this up.
‘There was no, I take the fifth, there was none of that. It was similar to we’re speaking proper now. I went by the whole lot. That they had lots of questions.’
Epps was faraway from the FBI’s Needed poster, however he stated that solely served to extend the feverish rumors of him being a FBI plant.
Donald Trump talked about Epps at considered one of his rallies, which sparked a surge in demise threats arriving at their residence, forcing them to promote.
‘It scares me to demise,’ stated Robyn.
In January 2022, Epps spoke to the January 6 Committee, and a transcript was launched on December 28.
He listed the sequence of distressing occasions which have plagued him because the conspiracy was began practically a yr in the past, and stated that at no level was he in touch with legislation enforcement officers from the FBI the month earlier than the Capitol riot.
Epps stated that he was compelled to promote his wedding ceremony enterprise in Arizona because of the ongoing threats rising from what he claims are all lies.
He claimed that he used to respect a few of the lawmakers and media shops that he now blames for the conspiracies in opposition to him. He now classifies these people and those that consider the claims as ‘crazies’.
‘We had a tour bus come by our residence and our enterprise with all these whacked out individuals in it,’ Epps informed the panel.
Epps, who stated he was getting emotional throughout the testimony, has 38 grandchildren, they usually have been ‘picked on at college’ because of the tales being floated about him.
‘There are good individuals on the market that was in Washington,’ Epps stated in protection of these protesting the outcomes of the 2020 presidential election.
‘These aren’t the folks that’s coming by our home.
‘This attracts all of the crazies on the market,’ he added.
Kentucky Consultant Thomas Massie, Epps says, can be one of many foremost people at fault for bringing extra mild to the rumor that he was working for the FBI to instigate the Capitol riot.
‘It actually began when Congressman Massie began his deal,’ Epps claimed.
‘He introduced that type of stuff to the ground of the Home.
‘When that occurred, it simply blew up. It bought actually, actually dangerous.
‘Him and, gosh, [Matt] Gaetz and [Marjorie Taylor] Greene, and yeah, they’re simply blowing this factor up,’ he continued in reference to different far-right representatives.
‘So, it bought actually, actually troublesome after that. The crazies began popping out of the woodwork.’