Trump supporter seeks apology from Tucker Carlson for spreading Jan. 6 informant conspiracy
Ray Epps, a onetime Trump supporter at the center of a Jan. 6 conspiracy theory, is demanding that Fox News host Tucker Carlson issue a formal apology and retract his claims that Epps was a government informant who instigated the 2021 riot on the Capitol.
“The fanciful notions that Mr. Carlson advances on his show regarding Mr. Epps’s involvement in the January 6th insurrection are demonstrably (and already proven to be) false,” Epps’s attorney, Michael Teter, said in a cease-and-desist letter sent to Fox on Thursday. “And yet, Mr. Carlson persists with his assault on the truth.”
Epps, who was in the crowd outside the building on Jan. 6, 2021, was captured in a Jan. 5 video urging people to enter the Capitol, spurring conspiracy theories that he was an undercover agent or informant who was trying to provoke the crowd.
Carlson has repeatedly discussed the conspiracy theory on his show, including in an episode earlier this month that featured never-before-seen footage from the Jan. 6 riot.
After receiving some 44,000 hours of Capitol surveillance footage directly from Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the Fox News host called into question Epps’s timeline of events around the insurrection and accused him of lying to investigators.
“For more than two years we have wondered why some in the crowd that day who seem to be inciting violence were never indicted for it,” Carlson added. “We assumed these were federal agents of some sort. We still assume that.”
Teter’s letter was also directed at Fox News, alleging that the network “encourages, consents to, ratifies, and amplifies Mr. Carlson’s actions by continuing to allow commentators and guests to spread the knowing lies about Mr. Epps.”
Epps’s attorney demanded that Carlson and Fox News retract the claims and issue a formal on-air apology, adding that “we expect that you will give the same airtime in retracting these falsehoods as you spent amplifying them.”
Teter, who also provided Carlson and the network with formal notice of potential litigation, made note of Fox News’ ongoing legal battle with Dominion Voting Systems.
“Recent revelations from the Dominion Voting lawsuit may help explain why Fox News has allowed the falsehoods about Mr. Epps to continue to spread, and be amplified, through its network,” Teter said.
“But 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,” he added.
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