Paul Russell Johnson claims James Ray Epps can help defend

James Ray Epps (L) and Paul Russell Johnson (R)

James Ray Epps (L) and Paul Russell Johnson (R) (image via FBI)

One of the men accused of assaulting police officers in the area of ​​the US Capitol known as the Peace Circle says a man at the center of conspiracy theories related to the 6th January was dismissed as a key part of his defense.

Paul Russell Johnson one of some defendants who is said to have knocked over a police barricade outside the Capitol on January 6, causing a concussion of an officer.

“It’s our home,” Johnson allegedly shouted at police over a loudspeaker as growing crowds gathered at the Peace Circle. “We pay your bills. We pay for this… that’s some bullshit. ”

Johnson, along with co-defendants Ryan Samsel, James Tate Grant, Stephen Chase Randolphand Jason Benjamin Blythe, allegedly working together to topple the police barricade by pulling and pushing it back and forth. The final kick knocked an officer down the stairs, causing her to hit her head. According to prosecutors, the official was unlucky and broke; She was taken to the emergency room, where she was diagnosed with a concussion.

The confrontation happened around 12:50 p.m., when the crowd Donald Trump Supporters in the Capitol became increasingly violent. Within hours, the mob had outrun law enforcement and breached the building, temporarily preventing Congress from certifying Joe Bidenwon the 2020 presidential election.

Photos and videos of the attack at the Peace Circle appear to show the Arizona man James Ray Epps in front of the crowd at that time. Conspiracy theorists have misrepresented Epps as an undercover FBI agent. He is not one.

The misinformation campaign around Epps started with the right website Revolver. Fox News talking head Tucker Carlson then amplified that story, which was later released by leading figures on the pro-Trump right: consists of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), and Trump himself.

In theory, Epps was brought in by the FBI to stir up pro-Trump crowds on January 5 and January 6.

“Tomorrow, we need to go to the Capitol! Into the Capitol ”Epps seems to say above videotapes was supposed to be done on January 5th.

“Peace,” he added after some in the crowd around him disagreed.

In response, the right-wing media personality is called “Grilled Alaska“-real name Tim Gionet—Begin leading the crowd in a hymn: “Boredom! Raised! Raised!”

In the video taken on January 6, Epps is watched shouted into a crowd: “Okay, guys, make it public! As soon as the president finished speaking, we went to the Capitol. The Capitol is this direction.”

Cruz later said people were “understandably very worried” about the fact that Epps was not arrested or charged in connection with January 6 and wanted to explain why “one person who took the video urged people to The person who arrives at the Capitol, whose conduct is so questionable that the crowd believes he is a feeder, will magically disappear from the list of people the FBI is looking at.”

Trump made a similar statement at a rally later that month.

“As for the guy, ‘Come in, come in, get in there guys,’ Epps. ‘In there, go, go.’ Nothing happened to him. What happened to him? Nothing happened,” he said in Arizona on January 15.

However, according to a lot of reality Czech, Epps is a staunch Trump supporter. He is affiliated with the right-wing militia group Oath Keepers, and was listed as president of the Arizona section in 2011. He was photographed with the Oath Keepers leader. Stewart Rhodeswho was charge with an ambitious plot related to the January 6 attacks.

In January, the House committee investigating the January 6 attacks said in a tweet that it had interviewed Epps.

“The Selection Committee became aware of unsupported claims that Ray Epps was an FBI informant based on the fact that he was on the FBI’s Most Wanted list and subsequently removed from that list. without being charged,” the tweet said. “The committee interviewed Epps. Epps has informed us that he may not employ, work with, or act at the direction of any law enforcement agency on January 5 or 6 or at any other time. ”

But while Epps doesn’t appear to be an FBI factory, Johnson’s attorney Flower Kobie believes he is important to his client’s case.

“Our argument is that James Ray Epps engaged in the assault on the Capitol in a way that was beneficial to our defenses,” Flowers said at a state meeting before the U.S. District Judge. Jia Cobb on Tuesday. He did not specify what those reasons might be, nor did he immediately respond to Law & Crime’s request for clarification.

Hoa told Cobb he was waiting for prosecutors to provide him with more Epps discoveries and information.

In many cases that happen on January 6, especially those involving multiple defendants, discovery — the exchange of information between parties in a case — is sometimes a slow process. painful. Is the government widespread prosecution As the alleged Capitol attack continues into its second year, government attorneys emphasize that they are doing their best to share the findings with defense attorneys, but with the recent DOJ confirmed the addition of 131 new attorneys to work on the Capitol breach cases, it is unknown when the discovery will end.

“New people can be arrested, new things can be achieved,” Assistant United States Attorney Karen Rochelin said at a hearing on Tuesday. “Some of that might be relevant to this case, and when the prosecution team becomes aware of that, we will make every human effort to release that data or information immediately.”

Although Cobb, a Biden appointee, had hoped to bring the case to trial, the attorneys could not agree on a date at this time. Cobb set up a state conference on May 3.

[Images via FBI.]

Is there a trick we should know? [email protected] Paul Russell Johnson claims James Ray Epps can help defend

James Brien

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