Ray Epps Charged With a Single Misdemeanor Count of Disruptive or Disorderly Conduct

Federal prosecutors have finally filed a criminal charge against prominent January 6 protester Ray Epps.

Epps, a former Oath Keepers member from Arizona, was charged with a single misdemeanor count of disruptive or disorderly conduct in a restricted area in U.S. District Court in Washington on Tuesday, despite his lead role in orchestrating chaos on that day. The charge carries a maximum punishment of a year in prison.

The former Marine’s activities at the U.S. Capitol on January 5 and 6, 2021, have led many on the right to believe he was acting as a federal informant.

“Epps not only urged  people to go into the Capitol on Jan 5 and 6, he was one of the first to breach exterior lines, interfered with security, and remained on restricted grounds for more than an hour,” wrote former American Greatness reporter Julie Kelly on X in reaction to the light charge.

In a Jan. 5 video that went viral, Epps can be seen repeatedly telling ralliers to “go into the Capitol.” The shocked ralliers reacted to Epps’ provocations by chanting “Fed! Fed! Fed!”

Epps is seen on video the next day, again, urging people to head toward the Capitol.

“We are going to the Capitol where our problems are!” he yelled through cupped hands.  “It’s that direction,” he added, helpfully pointing toward the Capitol building.

At the Capitol, Epps took a lead role in front of the crowd that first breached the barricades. He is seen on video briefly speaking with Ryan Samsel, who was tangling with police at the barricades, shortly before Samsel rushed forward.

Epps told the January 6 committee in January of 2022 that he told Samsel, “You’ve got to be peaceful, [I] pulled him back and told him, it’s not what we’re about.”

Samsel allegedly gave a similar account to the FBI,  “telling investigators that a man he did not know came up to him at the barricades and suggested he relax,” according to a recording of the interview obtained by The New York Times. “‘He came up to me and he said, ‘Dude’—his entire words were, ‘Relax, the cops are doing their job,’” the Times reported in May of 2022.

But Samsel later told Kelly in a telephone interview that Epps had told him “‘Don’t pull. I’ve got people. We have to push through.’”


In a text to his nephew later that day, Epps took credit for “orchestrating” the chaos:  “I was in the front with a few others. I also orchestrated it,” he wrote.

As Kelly has reported, Epps’ attire that day could have been used as evidence against him, as it had for other J6ers: “Epps was wearing military garb including a tactical vest and backpack, garb prosecutors cite as evidence of preplanning for violence,” she wrote.

Videos show Epps standing with Proud Boys leader Zachary Rehl as Rehl allegedly deployed a chemical spray at officers. Earlier this year, a D.C. jury found Rehl guilty of seditious conspiracy and he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

After investigative journalists on the right began speculating that Epps could be a federal informant, he became a sympathetic figure among Democrats and their media allies.

One J6 defense attorney wrote in a motion last spring that “the government appears to be protecting Epps.”

“Epps has never been indicted or arrested for his activities on January 5 and 6,  wrote attorney Roger Roots in the March motion. “This is despite the fact that Epps is the only Jan. 6 demonstrator who publicly (multiple times, actually) urged protestors on video to enter the Capitol on Jan. 6. Epps played a direct role in instigating the first breach on the west side,” the attorney added.

Roots, who is representing Dominic Pezzola, attempted to subpoena Epps to testify during the trial.

“Ray Epps is seen on video recordings all over the West plaza and grounds of the U.S. Capitol and often within a short distance from Dominic Pezzola on Jan. 6,” Roots wrote.

Epps has vehemently denied that he had a relationship with the FBI and acted on its behalf in interviews and in testimony to the Jan. 6 committee.

He filed a libel suit against Fox News in July 2023, claiming that he was being falsely accused of being a fed. In the suit, he complained that he would likely to face a criminal charge largely due to pressure generated by such accusations aired on Fox.

Fox has denied wrongdoing and moved to dismiss the lawsuit, which is pending in federal court in Delaware.

Epps is expected to plead guilty Wednesday to a federal charge of disrupting the certification of the 2020 election as part of a deal with prosecutors, according to the New York Post.

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About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.