Though prosecutors had recommended six months prison time for James "Ray" Epps, a Jan. 6 rioter, he was sentenced Tuesday to a year of probation. His sentencing marks the conclusion of one of the strangest Jan. 6 subplots: the saga of Epps, a former Oath Keeper from Arizona who was among the first pro-Trump rioters to breach police barricades and then became the target of far-right conspiracy theories, Politico reports.
“This is not an easy sentencing,” said Chief Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court in Washington. Boasberg noted that Epps knowingly joined a mob and entered a walled-off area on the day of attack — but then confessed to law enforcement, helped congressional investigators, and saw his life upended by the conspiracy theories. Because of his cooperation with the investigation, Epps received death threats after Republican members of Congress and conservative media spread false claims that he was an undercover agent who helped incite the Capitol riot. Those claims were even echoed by former President Donald Trump, who on Tuesday sat in the same courthouse listening to arguments in one of his own criminal cases. Epps is a former Marine who ran a wedding venue in Arizona, traveled to Washington in 2021 for the Jan. 6 certification of the Electoral College results.