Ray Epps, the man accused of being a federal agent by supporters of former President Donald Trump, was charged by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday in connection with the Capitol riot.
Epps became embroiled in a far-right conspiracy theory after numerous videos showed him calling on his fellow Trump supporters to enter the Capitol building the day prior to Jan. 6. Although he did not enter the Capitol himself, Epps would soon find himself on a public bulletin noting that he was being sought by the FBI.
Shortly after, Epps’ name would be removed from the bulletin. The removal was seen as proof by conspiracy theorists that Epps had been working for the federal government to instigate the attack on the Capitol. In reality, Epps’ name was removed after he simply reached out to the FBI.
The attempt by conservatives to shift the blame on to Epps for the day’s violence—as well as the FBI, antifa, and Ukraine—was thrust into the mainstream after the conspiracy theory saw support from individuals such as former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, podcaster Joe Rogan, and former President Donald Trump.
Epps went public in April of this year in an interview with 60 Minutes where he explained how he declined to go into the Capitol after seeing his the crowd turned violent. Yet Epps’ explanation did little to deter conspiracy theorists, who instead doubled down on their claim that the man would have been charged had he not been a federal agent.
That theory, like all the others, fell apart on Tuesday after the DOJ hit Epps with one misdemeanor count of disorderly or disruptive conduct on restricted grounds. Epps intends to enter into a plea agreement, according to NBC News.
Unsurprisingly, conspiracy theorists have shifted the goal posts once again by stating that the charges against Epps, which they said would never come, are nothing more than a smoke screen.
“Not suspicious at all!” conservative influencer Charlie Kirk sarcastically said of the announcement on X.
Aside from his legal troubles with the DOJ, Epps is currently involved in a defamation lawsuit against Fox News and Carlson for repeatedly accusing him of being a federal agent, a claim that he says has put him in considerable danger.