Veteran reporter Julie Kelly has obtained a transcript of the sentencing hearing for Ray Epps, a man who was filmed urging people to enter the Capitol at numerous points on January 5 and 6.
Epps — who was also one of the first to protesters to breach Capitol Police lines on January 6 — was given overwhelmingly light treatment from federal prosecutors when compared with the majority of protesters arrested that day. More than three years after the protests, the FBI is serving no-knock raids for demonstrators who are typically charged with four misdemeanors, including disorderly conduct, picketing in the Capitol Building, remaining in restricted grounds and similar trespassing-related misdemeanors.
Hundreds of protesters have also been charged and jailed after being convicted of “obstruction of an official proceeding,” which has been advanced by federal prosecutors under a convoluted legal theory that it currently set to be ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court. While federal prosecutors have largely stopped charging non-violent protesters with the felony statute, it is still being brought in a number of cases despite the impending Supreme Court ruling.
For Ray Epps, he was charged and pleaded guilty to just one count of disorderly conduct. While hundreds of non-violent protesters with clean records have been sentenced to months or even years in jail, Epps was sentenced to just one year probation and was ordered 100 hours of community service.
According to the sentencing hearing transcript obtained by Julie Kelly, prosecutors admitted that Epps “committed several crimes” on January 6.