Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Ray Epps, an Arizona man at the center of a right-wing conspiracy, was charged Tuesday in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Epps, 62, faces one misdemeanor count of disorderly and disruptive conduct in proximity to a restricted building and grounds. A virtual plea agreement hearing is set for Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before Chief Judge James Boasberg.
Epps, a former Marine, has said he went to Washington in January 2021 as a supporter of former President Donald Trump with no intention of breaking the law. He said he traveled there to protest the 2020 election, which he said he believed was stolen.
In July, Epps filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News and former host Tucker Carlson over a conspiracy theory alleging he was an undercover federal agent who instigated the attack on the Capitol.
His lawsuit says Fox and Carlson searched for a scapegoat in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot and destroyed his reputation and livelihood with "fanciful notions" that he was an undercover FBI agent.
The right-wing conspiracy claimed that Epps wasn't arrested for his involvement in the Jan. 6 riot because the Justice Department was protecting him. The conspiracy theory was fueled by videos showing Epps discussing entering the Capitol and whispering into the ear of another protester during the attack.
Epps' lawyer Michael Teter wrote a cease and desist letter to Carlson in March.
"The consequences of your lies cannot be minimized. Mr. and Mrs. Epps have been subjected to threats, intimidation, and harassment, resulting in significant economic and emotional damages," Teter wrote.
"Each time Mr. Carlson and Fox News spreads more misinformation about Mr. Epps, the harm redoubles."