Capitol rioter falsely accused of being double agent sentenced to probation

Capitol rioter falsely accused of being double agent sentenced to probation

A person focused by rightwing conspiracy theories in regards to the US Capitol riot was sentenced on Tuesday to a 12 months of probation for becoming a member of the January 6 assault by a mob of fellow Donald Trump supporters.

Ray Epps, a former Arizona resident who was pushed into hiding by dying threats, pleaded responsible in September to a misdemeanor cost. He obtained no jail time, and there have been no restrictions positioned on his journey throughout his probation, however he must serve 100 hours of group service.

He appeared remotely by video convention and was not within the Washington courtroom when chief decide James Boasberg sentenced him. Prosecutors had advisable a six-month time period of imprisonment for Epps.

Epps’s sentencing came about in the identical constructing the place Trump was attending an appeals court docket listening to because the Republican former president’s attorneys argued he’s immune from prosecution on expenses he plotted to overturn the outcomes of the 2020 election he misplaced.

The Fox Information Channel and different rightwing media shops amplified conspiracy theories that Epps, 62, was an undercover authorities agent who helped incite the Capitol assault to entrap Trump supporters.

Epps filed a defamation lawsuit towards Fox Information final 12 months, saying the community was in charge for spreading baseless claims about him.

Epps instructed the decide that he now is aware of that he by no means ought to have believed the lies a couple of stolen election that Trump and his allies instructed and that Fox Information broadcast.

“I’ve realized that fact shouldn’t be all the time discovered within the locations that I used to belief,” mentioned Epps, who requested for mercy earlier than studying his sentence.

The decide famous that many conspiracy theorists nonetheless refuse to imagine that the Capitol riot was an riot carried out by Trump supporters. The decide mentioned he hopes that the threats towards Epps and his spouse subside to allow them to transfer on with their lives.

“You have been hounded out of your own home,” the decide mentioned. “You have been hounded out of your city.”

Federal prosecutors have backed up Epps’s vehement denials that he was a authorities plant or FBI operative. They are saying Epps has by no means been a authorities worker or agent past serving within the US marines from 1979 to 1983.

The ordeal has pressured Epps and his spouse to promote their property and companies and flee their dwelling in Queen Creek, Arizona, based on his lawyer.

“He enjoys no golf, tennis, journey, or different trappings of retirement. They reside in a trailer within the woods, away from their household, associates, and group,” legal professional Edward Ungvarsky wrote in a court docket submitting.

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The web-fueled accusations that upended Epps’s life have continued even after the justice division charged him with collaborating within the January 6 siege.

“Concern of demented extremists has no obvious finish in sight as long as those that unfold hate and lies about Mr Epps don’t communicate loudly and publicly to appropriate the messaging they delivered,” Epps’s lawyer wrote.

Epps pleaded responsible to disorderly conduct on restricted grounds, a cost punishable by a most of 1 12 months behind bars. Prosecutors say Epps inspired the mob to storm the Capitol, helped different rioters push a big metal-framed signal into a gaggle of officers and took part in “a rugby scrum-like group effort” to push previous a line of cops.

A prosecutor, Michael Gordon, mentioned Epps doesn’t should be inundated with dying threats however ought to serve jail time for his conduct on 6 January 2021.

“He didn’t begin the riot,” Gordon instructed the decide. “He made it worse.”

Epps’s lawyer sought six months of probation with none jail time. Ungvarsky mentioned his shopper went to Washington on 6 January 2021 to peacefully protest towards the certification of the electoral faculty vote for Joe Biden over Trump.

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