(WASHINGTON) — Former Oath Keeper Ray Epps was sentenced to one year of probation on Tuesday for his role during the attack at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
In addition to the year of probation, Epps received a $25 fine, $500 restitution and 100 hours of community service.
Before his sentencing, Epps said that he never should have believed claims that the 2020 election was stolen.
“Truth is not always found in the places I used to trust,” Epps said in court on Tuesday, appearing virtually and noting that what he called “Trump cult” turned on him.
The former Oath Keeper pleaded guilty last year to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct on restricted grounds. Epps faced a maximum of one year in prison and one year of probation. Prosecutors had asked that he serve six months of prison.
Epps was sentenced Tuesday as former President Donald Trump — who himself echoed conspiracy theories that Epps was an undercover government agent — appeared in court for his arguments on his claims of presidential immunity.
That conspiracy theory was later debunked, and Epps filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News in 2023 over attacks against him by former host Tucker Carlson.
Fox News has moved to dismiss the suit arguing that the statements were opinion and not defamatory facts. That motion is reportedly pending a hearing.
Prosecutors called out those who they say “falsely called out Mr. Epps as an FBI plant.”
“They have publicly blamed Mr. Epps for what happened that day and for other persons being charged and convicted. Their lies have led to real threats against Mr. Epps, his wife, and his family,” the government said.
Prosecutors noted at length that Epps never entered the Capitol and did not charge him with engaging in any violence or destruction on Jan. 6.
“This guy was trying to turn people against me. … He was calling me ‘boomer,’ and it’s his generation’s fault that we’re in the position we’re in,” Epps told investigators.
Epps turned himself in to the FBI and voluntarily sat for an interview with the FBI and publicly testified before the House Select Committee in January 2022. He had no prior arrests.
But prosecutors maintained that Epps should still receive jail time for his role.
“He didn’t start the riot. He made it worse,” prosecutor Michael Gordon told the judge.
Prosecutors tried to paint Epps as “eager to take advantage of others” and argued that by joining the riot, Epps “did the exact same thing he was accusing Antifa of being responsible for.”
Prosecutors, defense attorneys and the judge all agreed on one point: that Epps’ world was upended after Jan. 6.
Prosecutors argued on Tuesday that “Ray Epps has been unfairly scapegoated” in the aftermath of Jan. 6, despite their contention that “he is not innocent.”
“While many defendants have been vilified in a way unique to Jan. 6, you seem to be the first to have suffered for what you didn’t do,” Chief Judge James Boasberg said during sentencing.
Boasberg noted that Epps “had to live life like a fugitive because of lies others spread.” Epps now lives in a trailer in the woods, his attorney, Edward Ungvarsky, wrote in a court filing.
An attorney for Epps wrote in a court document that Epps “has been attacked, defamed, and vilified — and after a decision that his actions at the Capitol did not warrant prosecution, a 180-degree turnaround by the government, with the threat of a request for prison time, after his name became dragged through the mud by right-wing political dramaturges who used the (correct) lack of prosecution as a social media and public cudgel against the Garland Justice Department.”
Epps vowed to dedicate the rest of his life to fighting for the truth, including debunking accusations of election deniers.
In September 2023, Ungvarsky asked that Epps be allowed to keep his firearms, despite the standard requirement that defendants turn in their guns. Boasberg denied the request but invited Ungvarsky to file a motion and said he would consider it in this case.
Epps will be able to freely travel with no restrictions.
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