A former Donald Trump supporter who allegedly played a central role in the events of January 6, 2021, filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News.
Raymond Epps, 62, a former Marine, claims that the network falsely portrayed him as a government agent and scapegoat for the Capitol riot.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Wednesday, comes after Fox settled a defamation lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems for $787 million earlier this year.
Epps, who has been accused of being an undercover federal agent, appeared in multiple video clips encouraging Trump supporters to storm the Capitol.
🚨 BREAKING NEWS: The DOJ is pressing charges against January 6th “Protester” Ray Epps ⚠️
3 Years of Nothing Then They Pull Federal Charges Out of Thin Air?
Either he is indeed an FBI agent and this is for show… or it’s clear abuse of power targeting political opponents! pic.twitter.com/X9jjkczQLz
— Matt Wallace (@MattWallace888) July 13, 2023
Despite his denial of being in the FBI, Fox News accused him of inciting trouble that would be blamed on Trump supporters.
According to Breitbart, the lawsuit accuses Fox News, particularly former host Tucker Carlson, of promoting the false theory about Epps being a government informant.
The legal filing claims that Carlson misled his viewers even after contradictory evidence emerged, including Epps’ testimony before a congressional committee and video footage showing Epps trying to deescalate the situation.
While Carlson is not named as a defendant, Epps’ lawyer asserts that Fox News is liable for Carlson’s defamatory statements and is seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial.
Epps alleges that Fox News’ false portrayal of him has led to harassment and death threats from Trump supporters.
He also says that he and his wife were forced to sell their highly rated wedding venue business in Arizona and now live in a recreational vehicle in Utah, facing financial ruin.
Ray Epps: "We need to go into the Capitol!"
FBI: "We're arresting everyone who was near the Capitol except the guy who told people to go into the building"
Tucker Carlson: "Why has this guy who told people several times to go into the Capitol not been arrested?"…
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) July 12, 2023
In a surprising twist, Epps’ lawyer reveals in the lawsuit that federal law enforcement officials intend to charge him in connection with the Capitol riot.
The lawyer blames Carlson and the pressure exerted by Fox News for the forthcoming charges.
“Finally, in May 2023, the Department of Justice notified Epps that it would seek to charge him criminally for events on January 6, 2021—two-and-a-half years later,” the lawsuit states according to the Daily Wire.
Ray Epps' lawyer comes straight from the bowels of the DNC-deep state swamp… he works for disgraced Dem hatchet man David Brock
Brock and Epps bedfellows… you can't make this up! https://t.co/JY0HYRBlpf
— Darren J. Beattie 🌐 (@DarrenJBeattie) July 12, 2023
“The relentless attacks by Fox and Mr. Carlson and the resulting political pressure likely resulted in the criminal charges.”
In a Wednesday appearance on MSNBC’s “The Beat,” Democratic strategist James Carville said that Fox News singled out Epps when the network realized that their “alternative story” about Antifa being behind the Capitol riot wouldn’t pan out.
“There’s no such thing at Antifa, so you can’t defame it. There is no organization, there’s no Antifa headquarters, there’s no Antifa board.” he remarked.
“So if they would have just stuck with Antifa, they would have probably been okay.”
Host Ari Melber added that Fox News was forced to “start blaming other people for what we all know was a Trump rally that turned into a Trump insurrection.”
Rep. Nehls asks FBI Director Wray if he will arrest Ray Epps, and says:
"If you don't arrest Mr. Epps, there's a reason behind it. I believe you know what it is, and it appears to me you are protecting this guy. I strongly recommend you get your house back in order." pic.twitter.com/NSPDLlKYKW
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) July 12, 2023
Carville claimed that the network was “desperate to have an answer” because the riot was “bad optics” for conservatives who “needed another explanation.”
“If they were going to keep their audience, they had to supply it,” he explained. “The Antifa thing fell apart, so Mr. Epps was the remainder man.”
He said that average total daily viewers of 1.1 million is an audience that “just cant let it go.”
“They have to—it’s a giant monster that you have to feed every night. And that’s what happened, of course, with the Dominion … and it’s probably going to happen with Mr. Epps.
“That was an expensive diet they were on feeding that monster,” he concluded.
Despite flagging ratings due to Carlson’s abrupt firing, Fox News was the most-watched cable news network during the second quarter of 2023, according to Nielsen Media Research data.
MSNBC was a distant second with 796,000 total viewers, while CNN was a dismal third with 463,000 people watching.
Fox News did take a hit in June during the primetime shakeup that saw the network move Jesse Watters into Carlson’s 8 p.m. time slot, while filing the rest of the gaps with Laura Ingraham and Greg Gutfeld.
The conservative channel barely managed to edge out MSNBC with 1.4 million viewers to the liberal network’s 1.3 million.