The 2020 election wasn’t great for Donald Trump, who’s faced an avalanche of legal headaches ever since. But it also wasn’t for Fox News, who aired a lot of his and his cronies’ election fraud nonsense — and, unlike Trump, have already paid the price. Earlier this year they settled with Dominion Voting Systems for a fortune over the airing of conspiracy theories by the likes of Tucker Carlson, who they subsequently fired. But that might not be the end of their Tucker-related legal woes.
As per The New York Times, lawyers representing one Ray Epps, a two-time Trump voter repeatedly smeared by Carlson on his then-Fox News show, are reportedly moving ahead with a defamation lawsuit against the network.
“We informed Fox in March that if they did not issue a formal on-air apology that we would pursue all available avenues to protect the Eppses’ rights,” said Michael Teter, one of Epps’ lawyers. Since they’ve done no such thing, Teter says, “That remains our intent.”
Epps was present the day of the Jan. 6 riot, taking part in demonstrations, even leading a charge to march to and enter the Capitol building. Later video, though, shows him pleading with the whipped-up crowd to calm down and turn back. Epps met with federal agents to discuss his role that day, but he, like many who were outside the Capitol but didn’t go inside, were not charged. He could, though, still be charged.
But Epps wound up being singled out by conspiracy theorists, claiming he was a secret government agent. Carlson, who as recently as last week was still calling the Jan. 6 siege an inside job and that the crowd that day was “filled with federal agents,” mentioned Epps in nearly 20 episodes. His actions caused Epps and his wife to flee their home in Arizona and sell their wedding venue business and ranch after a flurry of death threats.
First Amendment experts told NYT that Epps has a “viable” case against Fox News, one that’s similar to Dominion’s lawsuit, which ended with Fox News forking over $787 million. On top of that, the network still has to worry about that $2.7 billion suit from Smartmatic, another voting technology company.
Epps’ potential lawsuit is not a slam dunk. His legal team has to prove that by being defamed his reputation is in tatters. The people who don’t like him are mostly Jan. 6 criminals and those who sympathize with them. But it could also force Fox News to fork over more damning intel that may show they knew the Epps story was bunk — and we know the kind of stuff that happened the last time the network had to provide that kind of dirt.
In the meantime, you can watch Epps’ appearance on 60 Minutes from two months back below.