Ray Epps, Ex-Marine and Trump Voter at Center of Jan. 6 Conspiracy Theory, Sues Fox News for Defamation

Ray Epps, a Donald Trump voter and former Marine at the center of a Jan. 6 conspiracy theory promoted by Tucker Carlson, sued Fox News for defamation on Wednesday.


Ray Epps, a Donald Trump voter and former Marine at the center of a Jan. 6 conspiracy theory promoted by Tucker Carlson, sued Fox News for defamation on Wednesday.

  • In his lawsuit, Epps is seeking damages and a jury trial in Delaware. He filed his suit in the same court where Dominion Voting Systems sued Fox for defamation and won $787 million in a settlement shortly before the trial was set to commence.
  • Epps traveled to Washington, DC for Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, 2021. He says he never entered the Capitol during the subsequent riot and said in his lawsuit that he tried to calm the crowd on that day.
  • Tucker Carlson promoted the theory that Epps was a federal agent who incited the riot and “helped stage-manage the insurrection” after a video where other rioters called Epps a “Fed!” after he tried to encourage others to enter the Capitol with him.
  • Epps accuses the network and Carlson of “spreading falsehoods” and a “fantastical story” about him because “Fox knew it needed a scapegoat for January 6th… it settled on Ray Epps and began promoting the lie that Epps was a federal agent who incited the attack on the Capitol.”
  • The lawsuit reveals that Epps was informed by the Justice Department in May that he will be facing criminal charges for his actions on Jan. 6. Epps blames these charges on “the relentless attacks by Fox and Mr. Carlson and the resulting political pressure.”
  • Epps’ attorney said that he and his wife had to close their business in Arizona and relocate to a small mobile home in Utah to avoid the threats and harassment they received after Carlson repeatedly attacked him on his show.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • NBC News reported that FBI investigators met with Epps in March 2021 and dropped him from their website of Jan. 6 suspects in July of that year. Zoe Richards and Daniel Barnes continued, “’That should have been the end of the matter for Epps,’ but instead he was cast as a ‘villain,’ the lawsuit says. It goes on to say that Carlson ‘fixated on Epps,’ devoting ‘over two dozen segments’ to him.”
  • “Carlson’s guests and his own remarks conveyed with seeming certitude that Epps helped instigate the violence unleashed that day and also that he must have been collaborating with a federal agency to do so,” NPR observed. “Yet Carlson never presented viewers with any concrete evidence of the claims.”
  • Epp’s lawsuit “is the latest legal complication for Fox News, which has been fighting lawsuits on a number of fronts related to its coverage of the 2020 election and Mr. Trump’s false insistence that he was cheated of victory,” the New York Times noted. “They include a $2.7 billion suit from a second voting technology company, Smartmatic, and two separate claims by Fox Corporation shareholders. Another lawsuit from a former producer for Mr. Carlson, which Fox settled on June 30 for $12 million, alleged that he condoned and encouraged a toxic workplace.”



  • The New York Post reported that FBI Director Christopher Wray dismissed as “ludicrous” claims that Epps was a federal agent at a congressional hearing on Wednesday.
  • The Daily Mail sampled one instance where Carlson referred to Epps on-air. In July of last year Carlson said, “Now we’ve asked Ray Epps on this show repeatedly to explain why he thinks he’s escaped prosecution, and we’ll ask him once again tonight, and we’ll keep asking because we think it is a very obvious and important question.”
  • National Review outlined the damages Epps claims in his lawsuit: “Epps has suffered the single and indivisible injuries discussed previously, including but not limited to: being harassed and receiving death threats; forced to spend money to protect himself and his family; forced to give up his businesses and sell his home; forced to flee and live in isolation; and forced to face financial ruin, loss of income; loss of earning capacity loss of business and business opportunities; suffering, both mental and physical in nature; mental anguish; public humiliation; anxiety; loss of sleep; and loss of appetite.”


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© Dominic Moore, 2023