Ex-Oath Keeper subject to conspiracy theories Ray Epps pleads guilty to Jan. 6 charge

Ray Epps, the subject of conspiracy theories involving the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge related to the disruption of the certification of the 2020 election. 

Epps, who urged protesters “to go into the Capitol” after former President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally near the White House, pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly or disruptive conduct on restricted grounds during a virtual herding before US District Chief Judge James Boasberg in Washington. 

The former Marine and chapter president of Oath Keepers Arizona was a one-time supporter of the 77-year-old former president.

Epps had been accused by conspiracy theorists of covertly working as a government agent at the time of the riot. He and the FBI both assert that he has never worked as an asset to the bureau. 

FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress earlier this year that Epps was not an undercover agent and that it was “ludicrous” to suggest the Capitol riot was “orchestrated” by the bureau.

Donald Trump
Epps has been accused by conspiracy theorists and some lawmakers of being an undercover government operative.
AFP via Getty Images

Ray Epps
Epps (in red Trump hat) pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly or disruptive conduct on restricted grounds.
Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Epps denounced the conspiracy theory as “crazy” in testimony to the House Jan. 6 committee last year, and blamed Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) for giving credence to the theory.

“I mean, it’s real crazy stuff, and [Massie] brought that kind of stuff to the floor of the House. When that happened, it just blew up. It got really, really bad. Him and, gosh, Gaetz and Greene, and, yeah, they’re just blowing this thing up. So it got really, really difficult after that. The crazies started coming out of the woodwork,” Epps told lawmakers. 

Epps sued Fox News earlier this year for defamation after several personalities on the network ran segments showing footage of Epps directing protesters to the Capitol and whispering to one before breaching a barricade, implying that he may have been acting on behalf of US intelligence or law enforcement agencies. 

Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol.
The FBI claims Epps has never been an asset of the bureau.

Massie accused Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday of lying about his knowledge of federal law enforcement activities on Jan. 6, after an FBI official testified in June that “a handful” of confidential human sources were present during the riot. 

The Kentucky Republican also appeared to suggest that Epps was receiving preferential treatment from the government based on the misdemeanor charge. 

“You’ve had two years to find out,” Massie said when Garland denied any knowledge about the number of “agents or assets of the government” on the ground on Jan. 6. “By the way, that was in reference to Ray Epps, and yesterday you indicted him. Isn’t that a wonderful coincidence? On a misdemeanor.”

“Meanwhile, you’re sending grandmas to prison. You’re putting people away for 20 years for merely filming. Some people weren’t even there.”

“Yet you got the guy on video who’s saying, ‘Go into the Capitol.’ He’s directing people to the Capitol before the speeches,” Massie continued. “He’s at the site of the first breach. You’ve got all the goods on him. Ten videos, and it’s an indictment for a misdemeanor. The American public isn’t buying it.”

Epps was charged despite never entering the Capitol, engaging in vandalism or assaulting law enforcement personnel. 

Epps faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine. 

A sentencing hearing for Epps is scheduled to take place on Dec. 20.