Pro-Trump protester Ray Epps (L), who found himself at the center of a right-wing conspiracy after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News and former host Tucker Carlson. Photo courtesy of FBI
July 12 (UPI) -- Pro-Trump protester Ray Epps, who found himself at the center of a right-wing conspiracy after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News and former host Tucker Carlson.
The lawsuit, filed this week in the same Delaware court as the defamation suit Fox settled with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 billion, seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages amid claims Carlson repeated "fanciful notions" on his show that Epps was an undercover FBI agent who instigated the Capitol riot.
"In the aftermath of the events of January 6th, Fox News searched for a scapegoat to blame other than Donald Trump or the Republican Party," the lawsuit says.
"Fox and Mr. Carlson made Epps the central figure in a lie they concocted about Jan. 6, 2021. After destroying Epp's reputation and livelihood, Fox will move on to its next story, while Ray and Robyn live in a 350-square-foot RV and face harassment and fear true harm," the lawsuit says. "Fox must be held accountable."
The lawsuit alleges that Fox News shared defamatory statements by Carlson across its websites and social media accounts. The suit also alleges Epps and his wife received death threats, forcing them to move from their Arizona farm to an RV in Utah.
"The consequences to Ray and Robyn have been enormous," Epps' attorney Michael Teter said in a statement Wednesday.
"They lost their successful wedding venue business. They had to sell their home that they spent years building, and they have endured significant emotional and psychological harm from the attacks," Teter added.
In March, Epps demanded a retraction from Carlson, who was still employed by Fox News, in a cease and desist letter. Carlson left the network in April following the Dominion voting settlement.
While Epps was documented instigating and participating in the Capitol riot, he was not arrested for his involvement, which Carlson and others have claimed is because the Justice Department is protecting him.
Epps' lawsuit has been moved from Delaware state court to federal court at Fox News' request.