A one-time supporter of former President Donald Trump who has found himself at the center of a conspiracy theory claiming he was a government informant who instigated the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, has demanded a retraction from Fox commentator Tucker Carlson for defamation. File Photo by Peter Foley/UPI | License Photo
March 23 (UPI) -- A one-time supporter of former President Donald Trump who has found himself at the center of a conspiracy theory claiming he was a government informant who instigated the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, has demanded a retraction from Fox commentator Tucker Carlson for defamation.
Ray Epps sent a cease and desist letter to Carlson on Thursday, decrying the commentator's repeated "fanciful notions" and his "assault on truth" on his show.
"Mr. Carlson and Fox News have repeatedly peddled claims about Mr. Epps that lack any foundation in fact. Mr. Carlson and Fox News guests and contributors have incorrectly called Mr. Epps a federal agent, accusing him of acting as a provocateur of the riots," Epps' lawyer Michael Teter wrote in the letter.
"Oddly, Mr. Carlson now also espouses the view that those rioters were akin to peaceful tourists. This leads to the obvious question: is Mr. Carlson now accusing Mr. Epps of provoking peaceful protests?"
Teter wrote in the letter that statements made by Carlson, his guests and other Fox News commentators, have "always been nonsensical fantasies disproven by videos and accounts by those attending the Jan. 6 events."
"The consequences of your lies cannot be minimized. Mr. and Mrs. Epps have been subjected to threats, intimidation, and harassment, resulting in significant economic and emotional damages," Teter wrote.
"Each time Mr. Carlson and Fox News spreads more misinformation about Mr. Epps, the harm redoubles."
Teter cited recent revelations from Dominion Voting System's lawsuit against the network as a possible reason for why "Fox News has allowed the falsehoods" about his client to spread.
"Fear of losing viewers by telling them the truth is not a defense to defamation and false light, nor will it absolve you of liability related to claims for infliction of emotional distress," Teter wrote.
Star hosts for Fox News, including Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, privately texted their disbelief in former President Donald Trump's false claims of election fraud even as the network supported them, documents filed in the Dominion case reveal.
Teter instructed Fox News to preserve all documents relating to Epps in anticipation of litigation.
"We demand, therefore, that Mr. Carlson and Fox News retract the claim that Mr. Epps was working for the FBI or any governmental entity when he attended the January 6th events and the claim that Mr. Epps acted as an instigator or provocateur of the insurrection," Teter wrote.
"We expect that you will give the same airtime in retracting these falsehoods as you spent amplifying them. Further, Mr. Carlson and Fox News must issue a formal on-air apology for the lies you have spread about Mr. Epps."