Ray Epps, the man at the center of a widespread conspiracy theory about the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday accusing Fox News and its former host Tucker Carlson of defamation for promoting a “fantastical story” that Mr. Epps was an undercover government agent who instigated the violence at the Capitol as a way to disparage President Donald J. Trump and his supporters.
The complaint was filed in Superior Court in Delaware, where Fox recently agreed to a $787.5 million settlement in a separate defamation case brought by Dominion Voting Systems to combat claims that the company had helped to rig the 2020 election against Mr. Trump.
“Just as Fox had focused on voting machine companies when falsely claiming a rigged election, Fox knew it needed a scapegoat for January 6th,” the complaint says. “It settled on Ray Epps and began promoting the lie that Epps was a federal agent who incited the attack on the Capitol.”
Fox News did not respond when asked for comment. But the network moved quickly to have the venue changed to Federal District Court in Wilmington, Del.
The suit is the latest legal complication for Fox News, which has been fighting lawsuits on a number of fronts related to its coverage of the 2020 election and Mr. Trump’s false insistence that he was cheated of victory. They include a $2.7 billion suit from a second voting technology company, Smartmatic, and two separate claims by Fox Corporation shareholders. Another lawsuit from a former producer for Mr. Carlson, which Fox settled on June 30 for $12 million, alleged that he condoned and encouraged a toxic workplace. [Continue reading…]