Ray Epps, the prominent J6 protester who was videotaped repeatedly on Jan. 6, 2021, encouraging other protesters to bring the protest to the Capitol grounds, was charged by District of Columbia U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves with one count related to those activities.
On or about January 6, 2021, within the District of Columbia, JAMES RAY EPPS, SR. did knowingly, and with intent to impede and disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business and official functions, engage in disorderly and disruptive conduct in and within such proximity to, a restricted building and grounds—that is, any posted, cordoned-off, and otherwise restricted area within the United States Capitol and its grounds, where the Vice President was and would be temporarily visiting—when and so that such conduct did in fact impede and disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business and official functions, and attempted and conspired to do so.
The charge cites 18 U.S.C. 1752(a)(2), which is related to conduct when trespassing on federal government property.
The charge asserts that Epps impeded and disrupted the orderly conduct of the government, but unlike many other J6 defendants, DOJ did not charge Epps with 18 U.S.C. 1512(c)(2):
Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law under which any pending proceeding is being had before any department or agency of the United States, or the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress—
J6 filmmaker Stephen Horn, who was convicted Monday of four misdemeanors related to his shooting video in and around the Capitol posted this video with Epps in his red ballcap from his archive:
EXCLUIVE: Never before released J6 video captures Ray Epps (and others) amidst the violent conflict at the police line on the West Plaza
This is near the Media Tower, apparently before Epps helped push the large metal sign into this police line pic.twitter.com/NoMFKNv58F
— Stephen Horn (@stephenehorn) September 19, 2023
My RedState colleague Bonchie reported in July that the Epps legal team expected these charges.
Capitol Hill conservatives have pressed Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray about why Epps was still at liberty when there were so many witnesses and so many videos of the Queen Creek, Arizona, wedding host at and around the Capitol grounds directing people to bring their anger to the Capitol itself.
Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie posted the video he showed Garland:
I just played this video for AG Merrick Garland. He refused to comment on how many agents or assets of the federal government were present in the crowd on Jan 5th and 6th and how many entered the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/lvd9n4mMHK
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) October 21, 2021
My RedState colleague Nick Arama reported Massie’s detailed objections to the official J6 narrative–including the whitewash of the role Epps played in the hoopla.
Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz and Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene highlighted the action Epps took on Jan. 6, 2021, when they reenacted his steps on the Capitol grounds that day.
In his Jan. 21, 2022, testimony with the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States, Epps validated his text message to his nephew about the hundreds of protesters who overwhelmed Capitol Police barriers and put the congressional certification of the 2020 presidential election on pause: “I was in the front with a few others. I also orchestrated it.”
Epps then dismissed the significance of the text, which aligned with videos of his exhortations that day. “What I meant by orchestrate—I helped get people there.”
The Marine veteran said he was not part of the chaos inside the Capitol itself, and his text was sent as he was walking away:
At that point, I didn’t know that they were breaking into the Capitol. I didn’t know windows had been broken. I didn’t know anybody was in the Capitol. If I answered him, that means I was on –at 2:12, I was on my way back to the hotel room.
Julie Kelly, the author of “January 6: How Democrats Used the Capitol Protest to Launch a War on Terror Against the Political Right,” posted on X that she was not impressed.
This lame single charge tells us everything we need to know about Ray Epps.
No obstruction felony? No civil disorder charge? Not even a trespassing on restricted grounds misdemeanor?
Can’t even tell you the last time I saw an “information” (misdemeanor version of indictment)… pic.twitter.com/zQ0rGT23ES
— Julie Kelly 🇺🇸 (@julie_kelly2) September 19, 2023
Multiple media outlets reported that more than 1,100 individuals were charged in relation to the Jan. 6 protests, but that DOJ press release they referenced is no longer online.