Arizona man falsely accused of being FBI agent, inciting Capitol attack sues Fox News

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An Arizona man filed a defamation lawsuit on Wednesday against Fox News after being accused of being an undercover FBI agent who incited the January 2021 attack on the US Capitol.

Ray Epps, in a complaint filed with a court in Delaware, said he had received death threats because of Fox’s false portrayal of him, had lost his business, been forced to move and suffered “mental anguish” because of the ordeal.

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“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,” Epps said in his suit.

Fox and its host Tucker Carlson, who has since left the network, engaged in a “years-long campaign spreading falsehoods about Epps,” the suit said.

They concocted a “fantastical story” in which Epps was “an undercover FBI agent and was responsible for the mob that violently broke into the Capitol,” it said.

“Those lies have destroyed Ray’s and Robyn’s lives,” the suit said in a reference to Epps and his wife.

Epps, a former Marine, said he had voted for Trump in both the 2016 and 2020 US presidential elections.

He was an “avid and loyal” Fox viewer who was lured to the January 6 protests by “lies broadcast by Fox asserting that the election had been stolen” from Trump by Democrat Joe Biden, the suit said.

Epps attended the January 6 protest but did not enter the Capitol building, it said.

“Contrary to Fox’s lies, Ray was not a federal agent of any kind, was not law enforcement of any kind, and was not any type of government agent or informant,” the suit said.

Because of the death threats and harassment, Epps and his wife have been forced to abandon their lucrative wedding venue business in Arizona and move to Utah, where they are living in hiding, it said.

Epps is asking for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages to be determined by a jury.

Fox News reached a $787.5 million settlement in April in a defamation case brought by voting technology company Dominion that alleged the network knowingly aired false claims linking its machines to a conspiracy to undermine the 2020 election.

Dominion had sued Fox News for $1.6 billion in March 2021, alleging it promoted Trump’s baseless claim that its machines were used to rig the vote.

Fox still faces a $2.7 billion lawsuit from another electronic voting company -- Smartmatic -- which claims that Fox News broadcast lies that “decimated” its business prospects.

During testimony on Wednesday before a House committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the “notion that somehow the violence at the Capitol on January 6 was part of some operation orchestrated by FBI sources and agents is ludicrous.

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