If nothing else, the way the government has defended Ray Epps is proof he was a federal agent or at least some kind of informant operating to help create the riot at the Capitol.
Other people who were accused of doing what Ray Epps is on video doing were given a decade in prison. After he was finally charged, he gets a slap on the wrist.
Do the math.
A Jan. 6 rioter who was falsely accused by Donald Trump of being a government agent was sentenced Tuesday to a year of probation for his actions during the attack on the Capitol.
The sentence of Ray Epps is more lenient than the six months of prison time that prosecutors requested. And it marks the conclusion of one of the strangest Jan. 6 subplots: the saga of Epps, a former Oath Keeper from Arizona who was among the first pro-Trump rioters to breach police barricades and then became the target of far-right conspiracy theories.
Epps received death threats after Republican members of Congress and conservative media spread false claims that he was an undercover agent who helped incite the Capitol riot. Those claims were even echoed by Trump — who on Tuesday sat in the same courthouse listening to arguments in one of his own criminal cases at the same time that Epps was being sentenced.
“This is not an easy sentencing,” said Chief Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. district court in Washington. Boasberg noted that Epps knowingly joined a mob and entered a walled-off area on the day of attack — but then confessed to law enforcement, helped congressional investigators, and saw his life upended by the conspiracy theories.
James “Ray” Epps, a former Marine who ran a wedding venue in Arizona, traveled to Washington for the Jan. 6, 2021, certification of the Electoral College results. On Jan. 5, he told rowdy Trump supporters that they needed to “go to the Capitol” the next day. An attendee videotaped his comments and captured people in the crowd chanting “Fed! Fed! Fed!” at him.
During the Trump rally that preceded the electoral count, Epps told attendees they should march to the Capitol. And right before another defendant, Ryan Samsel, engaged in one of the day’s first acts of violence, Epps whispered in his ear.
Epps traveled with the mob as it turned violent — sometimes trying to quell violence, sometimes not. Prosecutors did not accuse him of having any physical contact with police officers or of entering the Capitol building itself. But, they wrote in a sentencing memo, “[e]ven if Epps did not physically touch law enforcement officers or go inside of the building, he undoubtedly engaged in collective aggressive conduct.”
Epps’ lawyer, meanwhile, pushed back on any suggestion that Epps was violent that day.
In court papers, Epps described chilling harassment after pro-Trump media commentators suggested he could have been planted in the crowd by FBI agents to incite violence and embarrass the Trump movement: a busload of Trump supporters driving past his wedding venue during nuptial ceremonies and shouting threats, shell casings appearing on his property, and strangers telling him in person to “sleep with one eye open.” Epps said the harassment forced him and his wife to sell their business and move to another state.
Epps and the Justice Department reached a deal where he pled guilty to one misdemeanor count: disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds. The charge carried a maximum prison sentence of one year.
Epps argued he should just receive probation. Prosecutors, meanwhile, argued that he bore partial responsibility for the day’s violence and thus deserved six months in prison.
But in his first words at the sentencing hearing, prosecutor Mike Gordon conceded that Epps was both a defendant and a victim. Gordon’s first sentence to the judge: “Ray Epps has been unfairly scapegoated.”
“His life has been destroyed by conspiracy theorists eager to blame the government for the violence on January 6,” he added moments later.
This is the only Trump supporter, ever, that the government and the media have treated as a victim. In fact, he’s like some kind of hero.
He even got plastic surgery for his round of puff piece interviews.
Poor guy was just a victim of Trump and Fox News
America is such an absolute abomination.