A new batch of testimony released on Thursday by the House Select Committee investigating January 6 included an interview with Ray Epps, the man who found himself at the centre of allegations that he was an instigator working for a federal agency during the attack on Congress.
The lengthy interview with Mr Epps was part of another batch of testimonies released this week by the committee as it wraps up the final legs of its investigation. The panel is set to disband once Republicans assume control of the House on January 3.
In the final moments of his interview with lawmakers on the committee, an emotional Mr Epps (who himself still said he believed that antifa activists were responsible for pushing the crowd to violence) explained how a campaign of far right conspiracy theories had ruined his life in the days and months following the attack.
Mr Epps was accused by various far right Trump-aligned media personalities of being an FBI plant using the thinnest of reasoning — though he was at one time on the FBI’s wanted list, Mr Epps never ended up facing criminal charges over his involvement in the riot at the Capitol.
“It really, really started when Congressman [Thomas] Massie started his deal,” Mr Epps said, referring to the conspiracies and the resulting fallout. “I mean, it’s real crazy stuff and he brought that kind of stuff to the floor of the House.”
He continued: “It got really, really difficult after that. The crazies starting coming out of the woodwork. We’ve got one guy that has been in prison and shot by the police once, and he’s out on bail right now, and he’s trying to contact me...I can’t have my wife live in my home, and I’ve got to protect my property.”
He had a theory for the reason behind the Justice Department declining to file charges against him, too: According to Mr Epps, he was actually deescalating the situation at the Capitol — or at least trying to.
“If you see the whole story, you see that I’m trying to stop the violence,” Mr Epps insisted. “[I was] trying to keep people from getting themselves in trouble.”