A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced Ray Epps to one year of probation for his participation in the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol incursion.
The Associated Press reported that Washington Chief District Judge James Boasberg decided Epps — who pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct — would serve no jail time and placed no restrictions on his travel.
The former Arizona resident must complete 100 hours of community service.
Boasberg was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by then-President Barack Obama in 2010.
Epps told the judge during the sentencing hearing that he had believed “lies” told by then-President Donald Trump and his allies about the 2020 presidential election being stolen, the AP reported.
“I have learned that truth is not always found in the places that I used to trust,” he said, while asking for leniency in his sentence.
“You were hounded out of your home,” Boasberg said. “You were hounded out of your town.”
The former Queen Creek, Arizona, resident was forced to leave his home, his attorney, Edward Ungvarsky, said.
The AP noted that Epps was not accused of going into the Capitol on Jan. 6 or engaging in violence.
“Mr. Epps was one of many who trespassed outside the Capitol building. Through the exercise of prosecutorial discretion, most of those persons will never be charged,” Ungvarsky wrote in a court filing.
However, the night before the Capitol incursion, Epps was captured on video yelling, “Tomorrow, we need to get into the Capitol! Into the Capitol!”
People around him responded by saying, “No,” and chanting, “Fed! Fed! Fed!”
Epps then added, “Peacefully.”
Other video clips showed Epps outside of the Capitol on Jan. 6 whispering something to some protesters, who then joined in breaching a barrier leading to the building.
The Department of Justice had recommended Epps receive no more than six months in jail and a $500 fine. His guilty plea came in September, over two-and-a-half years after the Capitol incursion.
Many argued on social media at the time that the misdemeanor count — compared with the more serious charges filed against other Jan. 6 defendants — was evidence that Epps was working with the federal government during the protest. Epps and the FBI denied this was the case to CBS News in April.
In a memo to Boasberg, federal prosecutors described the Epps case as “unique … in the context of January 6 defendants.”
“Although Epps engaged in felonious conduct during the riot on January 6, his case includes a variety of distinctive and compelling mitigating factors,” the memorandum said.
The memo said he repeatedly attempted to “deescalate conflict and avoid violence” on Jan. 6, “turned himself in to the FBI two days after the riot” and “cooperated with both the FBI and Congress, participating in multiple lengthy voluntary interviews.”
“No previously sentenced case contains the same balance of aggravating and mitigating factors present here,” the DOJ said.