Fox News faces defamation lawsuit from Jan. 6 rioter for conspiracy claim

Fox News faces defamation lawsuit from Jan. 6 rioter for conspiracy claim
Ray Epps, identified by the FBI as 'Suspect 16', appears in video …

Fox News has been hit with another defamation lawsuit. This time from a former marine who became the centre of a right-wing conspiracy theory.

Ray Epps, a Trump supporter who was present at the January 6 Insurrection, was falsely accused of being an FBI informant by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

In almost 20 episodes, then-Fox News host Carlson repeatedly claimed that Epps “helped stage-mange the insurrection.” The lawsuit also states that falsehoods about Epps were mentioned by other commentators on the network.

Epps was seen in a video encouraging people to enter the Capitol, whilst members of the crowd accused him of being part of law enforcement, shouting back “Fed! Fed!”

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In interviews, Epps has stated that he has no ties to law enforcement and that he got carried away with the riot, mistakenly believing that former president Trump was the victim of widespread election fraud. He was questioned by FBI agents but not arrested.

The lawsuit was filed in Delaware and said that Fox News aired false and defamatory statements about Epps with “actual malice with knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for truth or falsity.”

Epps claims that as a result of death threats he and his wife, Robyn, received they had to shut down their wedding venue business and move from Arizona to a small motorhome in Utah.

The lawsuit describes Epps as a “loyal Fox viewer and Trump supporter” and refuted the notion he was part of law enforcement.

Michael Teter, Epps’ lawyer, said in a statement the lawsuit “marks another moment of accountability”

“For years, Fox News and Mr Carlson created and amplified conspiracy theories about Ray that lacked any foundation in fact,” Teter said.

This lawsuit comes after Fox paid $787.5 million to Dominion Voting Systems in April to settle a defamation claim. Dominion said Fox News made false statements on air about the company when covering claims of fraud in the 2020 election.

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