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Ray Epps Sues Fox News for Defamation Over ‘False Narrative’ He Was Secret FBI Agent

Ray Epps, an Arizona man whose role in the events of Jan. 6 Capitol breach has been the subject of much scrutiny and conjecture, has filed a lawsuit against Fox News for defamation.

In a complaint filed in Delaware Superior Court on July 12 (pdf), Mr. Epps accused the network of a long-running campaign of “spreading falsehoods” that he was an undercover FBI agent who egged people on to breach the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021.

“Those lies have destroyed Ray’s and Robyn’s lives,” his attorneys wrote in the filing, referring to Mr. Epps and his wife.

The lawsuit says that, as a consequence of Fox News pushing the false conspiracy theory that Mr. Epps was secretly working with federal law enforcement and incited the Capitol breach, both he and his wife have received death threats, with people driving by their farm brandishing weapons and shooting onto their property.

While Mr. Epps has previously denied being an FBI agent or informant, speculation has continued to swirl about his role in the Capitol breach, in part because he was caught on video telling a crowd of Trump supporters on Jan. 5 that they should go into the Capitol on the following day.

The calls raised eyebrows among some in the crowd, prompting cries of “Fed! Fed! Fed!” which is shorthand for individuals affiliated with federal agencies like the FBI.

In sworn testimony before the Jan. 6 Committee in late 2022, Mr. Epps explained the widely circulated video, saying he wasn’t calling for a violent breach of the Capitol the following day but was merely trying to find “common ground” with some of the people assembled at the pro-Trump gathering in Washington and defuse a tense situation.


Mr. Epps and his wife believed that the 2020 presidential election was rigged against former President Donald Trump and jointly decided that Mr. Epps would travel to attend the Jan. 6 rally to voice his opposition to the lack of independent investigations into the concerns reported alleging election irregularities, per the lawsuit.

After a peaceful rally with President Trump speaking earlier on Jan. 6, a number of people then marched on the Capitol, with some breaking through security lines and violently gaining entry into the building.

Mr. Trump at the rally at the Ellipse had encouraged his supporters to voice their outrage at what he described as a stolen election. However, he never called for violence, and when unrest did break out, he urged people to be peaceful and go home.

However, a prevailing narrative in the legacy media and broadly among Mr. Trump’s opponents was that the former president had incited a mob to attack the Capitol in an “insurrection” meant to overthrow the government and secure a second term by forceful means.

The lawsuit alleges that, in its reporting on the incident, Fox News intentionally made Mr. Epps a “scapegoat” for the Capitol breach to deflect responsibility from Mr. Trump and the Republican Party.

The network is accused of promoting the “false narrative” that Mr. Epps was a secret FBI plant and on Jan. 6 was responsible for inciting some of the violence that took place that day.

“Epps was not a federal agent. He was a loyal Fox viewer and Trump supporter,” the complaint stated.

“Lies have consequences,” his attorneys added, accusing Fox News of publishing a series of defamatory statements about Mr. Epps and of providing a platform where guests would make such statements, which were then endorsed and repeated across Fox’s various media platforms.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

A Fox News spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

FBI’s Wray Weighs In On Mr. Epps

On the same day that Mr. Epps’ lawyers filed the lawsuit against Fox News, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) explicitly asked FBI Director Christopher Wray about Mr. Epps during a congressional hearing.

Cohen first asked the FBI chief whether the agency had any prior notice or reason to believe that the Jan. 6 incident at the Capitol would unfold as violently as it did.

“We did not, to my knowledge at least, have prior knowledge of an attempt at violent overthrow of and breach of the Capitol building itself,” Wray replied.

“Certainly we were concerned about and put out a number of products, intelligence products to partners and others, warning of the potential for violence more generally on that day,” he added.

Mr. Cohen then asked specifically about Mr. Epps and reports by Fox News and others that he was supposedly a “secret government agent helping encourage this crime so as to make the President look bad.”

He then asked Mr. Wray if the FBI chief had any knowledge of Mr. Epps being a government agent.

“No,” Wray replied. “I will say this notion that somehow the violence at the Capitol on January 6 was part of some operation orchestrated by FBI sources and agents is ludicrous and is a disservice to our brave, hardworking, and dedicated men and women.”

Mr. Cohen said he agreed with Mr. Wray’s assessment and later took to Twitter to bolster the narrative that Mr. Epps had no links to law enforcement.

“This morning, I questioned the FBI Director on conjured up stories pushed by Tucker on #FoxNews. This afternoon, the network was sued for defamation. Wray called Carlson’s assertions ‘ludicrous.’ Fox News should be held accountable for spreading misinformation,” Mr. Cohen wrote.

There have been repeated prior denials that Mr. Epps was an FBI agent or informant.

His attorney, John Blischak, told The Epoch Times in January 2022 that “unequivocally, he is not an FBI informant” while Mr. Epps himself said as much to the Jan. 6 Committee under oath.

In his testimony, Mr. Epps described himself as a well-meaning supporter of Mr. Trump with no affiliation with law enforcement.

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