Former metro Phoenix man sentenced in Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot case | Phoenix New Times
Navigation

Former Queen Creek resident sentenced in Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot case

“I have learned that truth is not always found in the places that I used to trust."
Ray Epps whispers to Ryan Samsel before breaching a second barricade and storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Ray Epps whispers to Ryan Samsel before breaching a second barricade and storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. U.S. District Court
Share this:
Ray Epps, a one-time business owner in Arizona, was sentenced to a year of probation on Tuesday for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The former U.S. Marine, 62, pleaded guilty on Sept. 18 to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly or disruptive conduct for his role in the riot. He will serve no jail time, and no restrictions have been placed on his ability to travel during his probation. However, he was ordered to serve 100 hours of community service.

Prior to his sentencing, Epps expressed regret that he once believed lies that the 2020 election was stolen.

“I have learned that truth is not always found in the places that I used to trust,” said Epps, who appeared remotely by video conference.

As Epps received his sentence on Tuesday, former President Donald Trump was in the same building to attend an appeals court hearing, ABC News reported. The former president's lawyers are continuing to argue that he should be immune from prosecution on charges that he plotted to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

A former Queen Creek resident, Epps once ran two small businesses — Rocking R Farms and Knotty Barn — in the area. After becoming the center of a debunked alt-right conspiracy theory that claimed he was a covert FBI agent who helped incite the Jan. 6 attack, Epps lost everything.

He closed his businesses and moved into a trailer to escape the numerous death threats he faced. It is not clear where Epps now resides.

“He enjoys no golf, tennis, travel, or other trappings of retirement. They [Epps and his wife] live in a trailer in the woods, away from their family, friends, and community,” Epps' attorney Edward Ungvarsky wrote in a court filing.

According to a 2011 YouTube video posted by Oath Keepers, Epps was once the Arizona Chapter president of the far-right anti-government militia. Oath Keepers’ leaders have been convicted of violently opposing the U.S. government.

Epps’ affiliation with Oath Keepers and the well-documented videos of his participation in the Jan. 6 riot led him to become a scapegoat for the 1,265 defendants who were indicted following the insurrection.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson latched onto a video circulating on far-right message boards that claimed Epps was a governmental plant who helped incite riot and quickly turned it into international headlines.

Although the damage to Epps’ life had already been done, he fought back by filing a defamation lawsuit in a Delaware court against Fox News on July 10, 2023.

“In the aftermath of the events of Jan. 6th, Fox News searched for a scapegoat to blame other than Donald Trump or the Republican Party,” the lawsuit said. “Eventually, they turned on one of their own.”

Epps’ defamation case is ongoing.
KEEP NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. Your membership allows us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls. You can support us by joining as a member for as little as $1.