Trump protester Ray Epps to plead guilty to January 6 riot crime


Ray Epps, in the red Trump hat, center, gestures to others as people gather on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2021.

Kent Nishimura | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Ray Epps, the pro-Trump protester at the center of right-wing conspiracy theories about the government orchestrating the Capitol riot, plans to plead guilty Wednesday to a disorderly conduct charge related to his presence there, his attorney said.

Edward Ungvarsky, Epps’ criminal defense attorney, told NBC News that prosecutors had filed the single misdemeanor count on Monday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., “with an anticipation of entry of a guilty plea.”

The charge stems from Epps’ actions on Jan. 6, 2021, when a joint session of Congress began meeting at the U.S. Capitol to confirm that President Joe Biden had defeated then-President Donald Trump in the Electoral College vote.

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Then-Vice President Mike Pence was presiding over the session before a horde of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol, causing lawmakers to flee. The prosecutors’ filing notes that he was on restricted grounds at the U.S. Capitol during the riot.

A plea agreement hearing for Epps is set to take place on Zoom on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET before Chief Judge James Boasberg in Washington.

Epps, who is a former member of the right-wing Oath Keepers group, traveled to Washington, D.C., to protest the 2020 election results.

But Epps fell under suspicion by others on the right after he was seen on video taken Jan. 5, 2021, showing him on the streets encouraging others to “go into the Capitol.”

He since has been at the center of a false conspiracy theory that the FBI provoked the riot. Some mainstream conservative voices in media and the government questioned his actions and wondered why he had not been criminally charged by the U.S. Department of Justice along with other protesters who were at the Capitol on Jan.6.

In July, Epps filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News and its former opinion host Tucker Carlson over their coverage of him.

In Monday’s filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Epps was charged with one count of knowingly engaging in “disorderly and disruptive conduct” with the “intent to impede and disrupt” the government’s activity taking place Jan. 6.

Epps’ conduct “did in fact impede and disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business and official functions,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves wrote in the two-page information.

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