Conspiracy theorists obsess over Ray Epps amid Jan. 6 hearings

Conspiracy theorists have once again targeted Ray Epps, a man they have accused without evidence of instigating the riot in the Capitol on behalf of the federal government as a false flag attack, amid the committee’s ongoing Jan. 6 hearings.

Numerous tweets This week pointed the finger at Epps after he briefly appeared in footage broadcast during one of the committee’s hearings. However, because the video focused on Trump supporter violence and not Epps merely standing at the scene, conservatives claimed the committee manipulated the footage to remove Epps.

Epps came under the spotlight of former President Donald Trump’s supporters last October after right-wing blog Revolver suggested the 60-year-old Arizona resident was responsible for the Capitol break-in.

The so-called evidence cited was a video of Epps encouraging others to enter the Capitol the night before Jan. 6 and a video of the man whispering in another person’s ear during the riot. Conspiracy theorists claimed, though the conversation was imperceptible, that Epps undoubtedly encouraged the man to attack the police.

Epps had also briefly been included in the FBI’s Capitol Violence Most Wanted List before it was eventually removed in July, another move viewed by conservatives as evidence the event had been a “false flag.”

But the insinuations made in the article, which offered no actual evidence of federal cooperation and instead relied on conjecture and conspiratorial framing, began to quickly unravel under the weight of new revelations.

The January 6th Committee finally interviewed Epps, who was never arrested because he did not actually enter the Capitol or violently assaulted police, and claimed he denied any connection to federal law enforcement.

“The committee questioned Epps. Epps informed us that he was not employed by, cooperating with, or acting at the direction of a law enforcement agency on January 5 or 6 or at any other time and that he was never an informant for the FBI or any other law enforcement agency.” the committee tweeted in January.

As reported by the New York Times Last month, Ryan Samsel, a Pennsylvania man with whom Epps was spotted whispering, said in an interview with the FBI that Epps actually told him to relax and not cooperate with law enforcement.

“He came up to me and said, ‘Dude’ – his whole words were ‘Relax, the cops are doing their job,'” Mr Samsel said, according to a recording of the interview.

Epps was also being questioned by the FBI at the time and told investigators the same story.

The claims surrounding Epps have been espoused by everyone from Trump himself to Fox News host Tucker Carlson and numerous Republican lawmakers.

Epps is just one person in an ever-growing list of people blaming conservatives for the Capitol riots. While downplaying the violence, Trump supporters have accused everyone from Antifa, the FBI and numerous far-right figures of somehow getting a crowd of thousands to enter the Capitol.

Read more about the Daily Dot’s technical and political coverage

*Initial publication: June 14, 2022 at 2:46 pm CDT

Michael Thalen

Mikael Thalen is a Seattle-based tech and security reporter covering social media, data breaches, hackers and more.

Michael Thalen Conspiracy theorists obsess over Ray Epps amid Jan. 6 hearings

Jaclyn Diaz

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