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Lawsuit Filed Against Fox News by Former Trump Supporter Caught up in January 6 Conspiracy Theory

by Chloe Baker
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Fox News lawsuit

A former supporter of Donald Trump, who found himself entangled in a conspiracy theory surrounding the events of January 6, 2021, has taken legal action against Fox News, accusing the network of unfairly scapegoating him for the U.S. Capitol insurrection. Raymond Epps, a former Marine, claims he was driven out of his Arizona residence due to threats and is now seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial.

Epps lodged his defamation lawsuit in Delaware’s Superior Court, the same venue where Dominion Voting Systems sued Fox News for broadcasting falsehoods following the 2020 presidential election. Fox recently agreed to pay Dominion $787 million to settle the case shortly before the trial was set to commence this spring.

Despite attempts to reach out via texts, phone calls, and emails, Fox News has not responded to inquiries seeking their comment on Epps’ lawsuit.

The legal action also highlights that the Justice Department notified Epps in May about potential criminal charges related to his actions on January 6. The lawsuit attributes this development to “relentless attacks” by Fox News and host Mr. Carlson, leading to political pressure. Epps, who had traveled to Washington for the January 6 demonstration, alleges that Fox falsely accused him of being a government agent who instigated trouble to be blamed on Trump supporters.

The lawsuit asserts that “in the aftermath of the events of January 6th, Fox News searched for a scapegoat to blame other than Donald Trump or the Republican Party” and eventually turned against one of their own. While Laura Ingraham and Will Cain of Fox are mentioned in the lawsuit, former host Tucker Carlson is singled out as the primary promoter of the theory. Epps appeared in over twenty segments on Carlson’s prime-time show before Carlson was dismissed by Fox News following the Dominion settlement.

According to the lawsuit, Carlson repeatedly told his viewers that Epps was a government informant, disregarding evidence that contradicted this claim. This evidence included Epps’ testimony before a congressional committee investigating the insurrection, where he stated that he was not affiliated with the government, as well as videos provided by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy that showed Epps attempting to defuse the situation.

Although Carlson is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, Epps’ lawyer, Michael Teter, argues that Fox News is fully responsible for Carlson’s defamatory statements since Carlson made them as an employee of the network.

Carlson did not respond to a request for comment via text message.

Meanwhile, FBI Director Christopher Wray, appearing before the House Judiciary Committee, refuted any knowledge of Epps being a “secret government agent” involved in orchestrating the violence on January 6. Wray dismissed the notion that the FBI played a role in the events of that day but declined to disclose how many individuals who entered the Capitol or the surrounding area were connected to the FBI in some manner.

In his lawsuit, Epps claims that the alleged defamatory statements made by Fox News have subjected him and his wife to harassment and death threats from Trump supporters. They were forced to sell their successful wedding venue business located on their Arizona ranch and are now facing financial ruin. Currently, Epps and his wife are living in a recreational vehicle in Utah. The lawsuit includes threatening messages Epps received, with one explicitly stating, “Epps, sleep with one eye open.”

According to Epps’ defamation suit, on January 5, the day before the Capitol breach, he attempted to deescalate tensions between Trump supporters and the police by confronting an agitator referred to as “Baked Alaska” in the lawsuit. This individual, later identified as far-right social media personality Anthime Gionet, was subsequently sentenced to 60 days in prison earlier this year.

Epps contends that, in an effort to portray himself as supportive of Trump’s followers, he told them, “I’m probably gonna go to jail for this. Tomorrow, we need to go into the Capitol. Peacefully.” Epps states in the lawsuit that he was “shocked and disappointed” when demonstrators began engaging in violent acts by scaling the scaffolding and walls around the Capitol on January 6.


Original reporting by David Bauder.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Fox News lawsuit

What is the lawsuit about?

The lawsuit involves a former Trump supporter, Raymond Epps, who filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News. He claims that the network made him a scapegoat for the U.S. Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021.

What is Raymond Epps seeking in the lawsuit?

Raymond Epps is seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial for the defamation lawsuit he filed against Fox News.

Where was the lawsuit filed?

The lawsuit was filed in Delaware’s Superior Court, the same court where Dominion Voting Systems previously sued Fox News for broadcasting lies following the 2020 presidential election.

Has Fox News responded to the lawsuit?

As of now, Fox News has not responded to the texts, phone calls, and emails seeking their comment on Epps’ lawsuit.

Who is accused of promoting the conspiracy theory?

Tucker Carlson, the former host of a prime-time show on Fox News, is cited as the leader in promoting the conspiracy theory involving Raymond Epps. The lawsuit claims that Carlson repeatedly made false statements about Epps being a government informant.

Is Tucker Carlson named as a defendant in the lawsuit?

No, Tucker Carlson is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit. However, Epps’ lawyer argues that Fox News is fully responsible for Carlson’s defamatory statements since Carlson made them as an employee of the network.

How has Raymond Epps been affected by the alleged defamation?

Epps claims that, as a result of the defamatory statements made by Fox News, he and his wife have faced harassment and death threats from Trump supporters. They were forced to sell their Arizona ranch, where they ran a successful wedding venue business, and now face financial ruin.

What evidence contradicted the conspiracy theory?

Epps’ testimony before a congressional committee investigating the insurrection, where he denied being a government agent, and videos provided by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy showing Epps’ efforts to defuse the situation, contradicted the conspiracy theory promoted by Fox News.

Has the FBI confirmed or denied Epps’ involvement as a “secret government agent”?

FBI Director Christopher Wray denied having any knowledge of Epps being a “secret government agent” involved in orchestrating the violence on January 6. However, he did not disclose how many individuals connected to the FBI were present during the Capitol breach.

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