Former Oath Keepers chapter leader Ray Epps, who was caught on video urging people to go into the U.S. Capitol on January 6, has been charged with disorderly or disruptive conduct in connection with the breach, according to the Associated Press.
Department of Justice authorities charged Epps with one misdemeanor count, disorderly or disruptive conduct on restricted grounds.
According to court filings, Epps “did knowingly, and with intent to impede and disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business and official functions, engage in disorderly and disruptive conduct in and within such proximity to, a restricted building and grounds — that is, any posted, cordoned-off, and otherwise restricted area within the United States Capitol and its grounds, where the Vice President was and would be temporarily visiting—when and so that such conduct did in fact impede and disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business and official functions, and attempted and conspired to do so.”
NBC News reported Epps could enter a plea deal to the charge.
Epps has long been accused by many of being an undercover federal agent who instigated some of the events of that day. He has vehemently denied the accusation.
The 62-year-old Marine veteran from Arizona is seen in multiple video clips from January 6 and the day before trying to whip up other Trump supporters to “go into the Capitol” the next day.
“I’ll say it. We need to go into the Capitol,” Epps says in one clip. At least four times on video, Epps repeats his call to action to “go into the Capitol.”
Other videos reportedly show Epps with Proud Boys leader Zachary Rehl, who deployed a chemical spray at officers, according to POLITICO. In May, A jury in Washington, D.C., convicted Rehl of seditious conspiracy in relation to the Capitol breach and sentenced him to 15 years in prison.
An attorney for Epps said in July that federal law enforcement officials had informed his client that they intended to charge him in connection with the events of January 6.
The revelation was made in a lawsuit that Epps filed against Fox News in July that accused the network and former host Tucker Carlson of defaming him.
Buried deep in the lawsuit, Epps’ lawyer said that the DOJ recently informed Epps that it plans to prosecute him. Epps’ lawyer blamed Carlson for the potential 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 said. “The relentless attacks by Fox and Mr. Carlson and the resulting political pressure likely resulted in the criminal charges.”
Fox reportedly denied liability and moved to dismiss the pending lawsuit in federal court in Delaware.
Epps told CBS in an interview earlier this year that he received numerous death threats that forced him to sell his home and relocate to the Rocky Mountains, where he and his wife were living in a recreational vehicle.
“I had to do the necessary things to keep my family safe,” Epps said.
Epps joins more than 1,100 people charged with Capitol breach-related federal crimes, of which over 650 have pleaded guilty, more than 600 were sentenced, and half received terms ranging from three days to 22 years.
Mairead Elordi and Ryan Saavedra contributed to this report.