The man whom Tucker Carlson accused of acting as a government infiltrator in the attack on the Capitol sues Fox News | International

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On January 6, 2021, Ray Epps, a resident of Arizona, was in Washington. He had voted for Donald Trump twice and that day he once again demonstrated his fidelity to the still president. He put on his red cap and attended the call for the protest that ended in the attack on the Capitol.

In the recordings of that day, the most infamous in the history of recent democracy in the United States, Epps is seen encouraging his companions to march on the Capitol. He also appears, after a while, when things started to get ugly, trying to calm the mob down. There is no record that he entered, along with 2,500 insurgents, the building where Joe Biden's victory in the November elections was being certified, a victory that Trump led his followers to believe without evidence, including Epps, that it was the result of a huge electoral fraud. Despite the fact that one judge after another has ruled that such a deception never occurred, neither the former president nor many of his acolytes have yet dismounted from that hoax. Epps ended up doing it by force.

This is stated in the complaint filed this Wednesday by his lawyers against the Fox News cable news network for what happened after that day, when the star presenter of the conservative media Tucker Carlson spread another hoax, which said that he acted on January 6 as an infiltrated agent of the US government to incite a revolt and thus damage the image of Trump and his legion of followers. Conspiracy theorists did not need further proof after seeing images from January 5 in which a group appears to be addressing him yelling “Fed!” (short for “federal agent”) and others, from 6, in which he comes out whispering something inaudible into the ear of another guy in a red cap.

The consequences of that insidiousness were, according to the complaint, many and long-lasting, and they are still far from over. The next chapter in that story will be written in the same Wilmington, Delaware, courthouse that heard the case over the lies knowingly spread by Fox and its employees about Dominion Voting Systems, a recounting machine company. That process was resolved by an out-of-court agreement before it began, and it cost media mogul Rupert Murdoch, owner of the chain, $787.5 million. He has not yet disclosed how much money Epps is claiming. And the lawsuit from another counting company, Starmatic, is still pending.

Fox News headquarters in Manhattan, in an image from last April. MIKE SEGAR (REUTERS)

The fact that, despite his participation, the Department of Justice has not held Epps accountable in this time for his actions that day, a violent eruption that has led to the indictment in the federal courthouse in Washington of more than a thousand people, led Carlson to the conclusion, repeated up to twenty times on the air, that there could only be one explanation: that he was an FBI envoy with precise instructions to provoke the protesters.

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Threats of death

Before his firing in April as a result of the previous trial, Carlson was the most followed cable television host in the United States, and had a legion of faithful willing to believe anything he told them. Some of these followers made life impossible for Epps and his wife Robyn, who, according to the complaint, harassed them with threats of all kinds, including death. This harassment, which included the marketing by several companies of T-shirts with the slogan "Arrest Ray Epps", forced them, the couple denounces, to close their business, dedicated to weddings, and to move from their home, a ranch, and the State of Arizona. They now live in a trailer in a remote part of Utah.

“At first, Fox and its hosts sought [tras el ataque al Capitolio] the blame mode [la organización izquierdista] Antifa," the complaint says. “As information about the rioters circulated, that falsehood became all too easy to refute. (...) Fox knew that he needed a scapegoat for January 6 to help them acquit themselves and convince their viewers. That's how they picked Ray Epps and started promoting the lie that he was a federal agent who incited the attack on the Capitol. These lies have destroyed the lives of Ray and Robyn. But, as Fox recently learned in its litigation against Dominion Voting Systems, those lies have consequences."

In a January 2022 interview with the bipartisan congressional committee that investigated the attack on the Capitol, Epps reviewed under oath the milestones of his life, spent mostly in Arizona, save for a stint in Nevada, where he met and married. with his wife. After flirting with the Tea Party, he was involved in the Oath Keepers militia, whose ringleaders have received the harshest sentences yet for January 6th, but left them when he judged they had become "too radicals”. He was finally convinced of the electoral fraud theory when he received ballots at his ranch in the name of three people who were neither him nor his wife. He had never heard of them in the 12 years he had owned the farm.

During that interrogation he confirmed that he served for four years as an infantry marine; "Never in the security forces." "And in the FBI?" the interrogator asks at one point. "No sir".

Yes, he was, according to the text of the lawsuit, a faithful viewer of Fox, a chain that he asked last March through his lawyer to retract on the air the things that had been said about him. Neither Carlson nor Fox News acceded to that request. Both will now face each other in court.

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