Raymond Epps' lawyer demands Tucker Carlson, Fox News apologize for Jan. 6 'falsehoods'

Raymond Epps' lawyer demands Tucker Carlson, Fox News apologize for Jan. 6 'falsehoods'

NEW YORK — The lawyer for a one-time supporter of former President Donald Trump who has been caught up in a Jan. 6 conspiracy theory demanded Thursday that Fox News and host Tucker Carlson retract and apologize for repeated “falsehoods” about the man’s supposed intentions.

The action taken on behalf of Raymond Epps specifically mentions a voting machine company’s pending $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox, an indication that people caught up in political conspiracy theories are fighting back.

The lawyer, Michael Teter, said he gave Fox formal notice of potential litigation. Fox News had no immediate comment.

Epps, a former Marine from Arizona, traveled to Washington, D.C., for Trump’s Jan. 6, 2021, rally and was caught there on video twice, once urging demonstrators to go to the Capitol.

He was never arrested, leading some to theorize that he was a government agent conducting a “false flag” operation to whip up trouble that would be blamed on Trump supporters. There has been no evidence to suggest that was true, and Epps told the congressional committee investigating the attack that he has never worked at or been an informant for a government agency.

Yet the theory, first posed on a fringe conservative website, spread to the more influential Fox News and to Congress and was even mentioned by Trump himself.

Epps told The New York Times last summer that he and his wife had to sell their business and home and leave for an undisclosed location because of threats.

“The crazies started coming out of the woodwork,” Epps testified to the congressional panel.

He has acknowledged being caught on video on Jan. 5, 2021, telling demonstrators to go to the Capitol the next day. He said he was trying to defuse a tense situation and meant that the demonstration should be peaceful. He testified that it was “something stupid” that he said and he regretted it.

Epps also was caught on video at the Capitol on Jan. 6, but said he did not enter the building. He has been mentioned on Carlson’s prime-time Fox News Channel show five times in 2023 alone, according to a search of transcripts found in Nexis.

On March 6, Carlson said: “What was Epps doing there? We can’t say, but we do know that he lied to investigators.”

Last July 13, on the day the Times story about Epps and his wife going into hiding was published, Carlson said he was “on camera repeatedly telling people to storm the Capitol. A lot of people who did that are still in jail, but Epps is not. But it’s a conspiracy theory?”

In his letter to Fox on Thursday, Teter demanded “that Mr. Carlson and Fox News retract the claim that Mr. Epps was working for the FBI or any other government entity when he attended the Jan. 6 events and the claim that Mr. Epps acted as an instigator or provocateur of the incident.”

He called on Carlson and Fox to issue a formal on-air apology “for the lies.”

Teter said revelations that have emerged through court papers in the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit may explain why Fox acted the way it has with his client.

Dominion has said Fox knowingly and maliciously spread lies that it was involved in voting irregularities that hurt Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Documents have revealed the suspicion that many at Fox had about those theories, but also internal concern about how the network might be losing pro-Trump viewers who believed the false claims that the election was stolen.

Fox has said that it was doing its job in reporting on newsworthy claims made by the then-president and his allies.

In Epps’ case, Teter wrote that “fear of losing viewers by telling them the truth is not a defense to defamation and false light, nor will it absolve you of liability related to claims for infliction of emotional distress.”

Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.

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Zebra runs loose in Seoul before being taken back to zoo

Zebra runs loose in Seoul before being taken back to zoo

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A young zebra walked, trotted, and galloped for hours in the busy streets of South Korea’s capital before emergency workers tranquilized the animal and brought it back to a zoo.

The zebra — a male named Sero that was born in the zoo in 2021 — was in stable condition and being examined by veterinarians as of Thursday evening, said Choi Ye-ra, an official at the Children’s Grand Park in Seoul.

She said the zoo was investigating how the zebra managed to escape. She didn’t immediately confirm media reports that the animal partially destroyed the wooden fencing surrounding its pen before busting out around 2:50 p.m.

Social media was flowing with smartphone videos of the zebra trotting alongside lines of cars that were waiting for the greenlight at an intersection, and galloping through a street surrounded by commercial buildings as pedestrians stopped and gasped.

Police and emergency workers managed to corner the zebra after it entered a narrow alleyway between houses and shot it with tranquilizers, ending its three hours of freedom.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or property damage caused by the zebra running loose.

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Miss Manners: Customers make rude comments about my employee’s hair

Miss Manners: Customers make rude comments about my employee’s hair


Dear Miss Manners: I am the manager of a gift store, where my clientele mostly ranges from 40 to 70 years old. I have an employee in her early 20s who is sweet, super helpful and professionally courteous — everything you’d want in a worker. She has her own unique style, and changes her hair with fun colors or highlights; right now it’s a very pretty shade of light green.

Several customers have made inappropriate comments to her about it and have even laughed. One woman pointed at my employee, saying to her daughter: “See? I told you she had green hair. Isn’t that nuts?”

My employee takes it in stride, smiling through it all, but I feel terrible. I’ve wanted to say something to these customers, but I don’t want to lose their business. Nor can I afford to lose my employee. I’m not sure what I can say to get them to stop being so rude to a human being in public.

You think you have two problems: defending your employee and not losing business. Miss Manners sees four.

Correcting your customers’ bad behavior would not just be bad business; it would also be rude (two problems). And not defending your employee is not just rude, but it is also bad for business (two more). After all, who wants to work for an employer who does not look out for the employees?

The important point is that your employee has seen this behavior so often outside the store that she does not expect you to call the police every time it happens inside it. There may come a time when the behavior is so bad that you have to ask the customer to leave, but most situations can be handled without losing either party’s business.

Smile at the customer with the daughter and say: “Really? I like the color very much. Is there something you came in to buy, or something I can show you?”

And although it is rude to tell another person they are being rude, etiquette is silent about third parties: After the customer is gone, privately tell your employee how sorry you are that people can be so awful.

Dear Miss Manners: My son’s girlfriend’s mom sent me a big card after I had surgery. We’ve never met. She said she hopes I am feeling better and maybe we can have lunch sometime.

Should I reply with a card? If I do, am I interfering in my son’s romantic life? I do not know his intentions, but his girlfriend has bought plenty of things for him over the years: clothes, scuba gear, snorkeling gear. Whom should I ask?

Your question — your first question — will be easier after we have picked up some of the clutter. The clothes, the scuba gear, the snorkeling gear, your son’s intentions and the size of the get-well card can all go in the closet, because they are irrelevant.

So, too, is your fear that answering an invitation to lunch will be considered meddlesome. Finally, because you have already asked Miss Manners, we can discard your question about whom to consult.

All that remains are an invitation to lunch — which you should promptly accept or decline — and the question of whether you want your son discussing your health with his girlfriend’s mother.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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Sisterhood and history star in ‘Silent Sky’ at Providence Players of Fairfax

Sisterhood and history star in ‘Silent Sky’ at Providence Players of Fairfax

Lauren Gunderson’s play Silent Sky is currently in production from Providence Players of Fairfax. Based on the true story of astronomer Henriette Leavitt, the show presents a fascinating account of her process of discovery, the adversity that she and other female colleagues of the early 1900s had to endure, and her personal struggle to find fulfillment and balance in life, love, and ambition.

Gunderson’s writing is incredibly witty and surprisingly funny, which buoys the energy of the show among the many moments of frustration, disappointment, and heartbreak in Henrietta’s life. And Director Tina Hodge Thronson has done an excellent job moving the scenes and transitions quickly.

Andra Whitt as Henrietta Leavitt in ‘Silent Sky.’ Photo by Chip Gertzog.

Andra Whitt plays Henrietta Leavitt, affectionately called “Henri” by her sister Margaret, played by Amanda Ranowsky. Whitt and Ranowsky do a lovely job capturing the natural banter of sisters who love each other and still drive each other crazy.

The two are complete opposites, with Margaret being a churchgoing woman, content to find a good husband and settle down, while Henrietta has no interest in faith over science and longs for purpose. Whitt explores this journey of determination to make a contribution, with moments of hesitation and doubt about a personal life she never explored. Her struggle of intellect over heart is relatable, and Witt brought a bittersweet realness to Henri’s story.

But Maragret’s life is never rendered unnecessary or lesser than Henri’s. Just as innovation and investigation are essential to growth, Margaret’s nurturing and more domestic tendencies are equally vital to society. Ranowsky and Whitt both act out this struggle to be valued in the world but also in the eyes of their sister.

The theme of sisterhood is prevalent throughout the show. At a time when equal rights for women was only just gaining traction in the social eye, these women were struggling, virtually alone, making camaraderie and support all the more precious.

Amanda Ranowsky as Margaret Leavitt, Lesleyanne Kessler as Annie Jump Cannon, Andra Whitt as Henrietta Leavitt, and Roxanne Waite as Williamina Fleming in ‘Silent Sky.’ Photo by Chip Gertzog.

Lesleyanne Kessler as Annie Cannon and Roxanne Waite as Williamina Fleming are Henri’s fellow “human computers,” as the ladies at Harvard College Observatory were called, and a respite in a male-dominated field that undervalues women. Kessler and Waite are delightful as like-minded intellectuals who create a safe space for Henri’s exploration to thrive, while also bringing genuine emotion and goals to their personalities.

Andra Whitt as Henrietta Leavitt and Chris Persil as Peter Shaw in ‘Silent Sky.’ Photo by Chip Gertzog.

As the sole male in the cast, Chris Persil is Peter Shaw, a colleague at the Harvard College Observatory. He is the point of contact for Edward Pickering, the director of the Observatory, who is far too important and busy to be bothered with the menial tasks of the female employees. Persil is charming as the bumbling and awkward Shaw, who grows to appreciate the contribution of the women he works with. Shaw’s character takes a backseat, as he should, in a show highlighting the valiant efforts of women in the scientific field and the many advancements they made that went unrecognized.

Providence Players’ production of Silent Sky is a delightful experience bursting with science, the importance of friendship, and the art of finding value in life. Going into the show, I anticipated a level of boredom or drag due to exposition and astronomy jargon, but that never materialized. The cast does a great job bringing the material to life and keeping the energy flowing.

Silent Sky is history with heart. An homage to the overlooked or forgotten women in our past whose accomplishments were key to the knowledge and technologies that exist today. And a compelling story of struggle and success.

Running Time: Approximately two hours and 30 minutes, with one 15-minute intermission

Silent Sky plays through April 1, 2023, presented by Providence Players of Fairfax, performing at The James Lee Community Center Theater at 2855 Annandale Road, Falls Church, VA. Tickets cost $21, with a $3 discount for seniors and students, and are available for purchase online, by email (tickets@providenceplayers.org), by calling (703) 425-6782, or in-person at the Box Office starting 30 minutes prior to the show.

COVID Safety: Masks are no longer required. For complete protocols, check online.

Silent Sky
By Lauren Gunderson

Henriette Leavitt: Andra Whitt; Margaret Leavitt: Amanda Ranowsky; Peter Shaw: Chris Persil; Annie Cannon: Lesleyanne Kessler; Williamina Fleming: Roxanne Waite

Production Team
Director: Tina Hodge Thronson; Producer: Mike Daze; Stage Manager: Susan Kaplan; Lighting Designer: Sarah Mournighan; Sound Design: Jason Hamrick; Tech Crew: Jason Damaso, Mario Font; Photographer: Chip Gertzog; Set Design/Set Decoration: John Coscia, Costume Design/Hair/Makeup: Robbie Snow; Properties: Judi Deatherage, Marie Flanigan; Box Office and Ticket Sales: Mike Daze; House Management: Kathi Ranowsky; Playbill: Susan Kaplan; Playbill Design: Ellen Burns; Playbill Advertising: Jayne L. Victor; Marketing: David Whitehead

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Escape-artist Missouri bear heads to Texas zoo with moat

Escape-artist Missouri bear heads to Texas zoo with moat

ST. LOUIS (AP) — An escape-artist bear from Missouri is headed to a Texas zoo with a moat in hopes that it will put an end to his wandering.

The St. Louis Zoo cited the “specific and unique personality” of the Andean bear named Ben in announcing the move Tuesday. His soon-to-be home at the Gladys Porter Zoo near South Padre Island in Brownsville, Texas, has a long history of working with Andean bears. But it’s still adding some extra security measures.

“We’re confident it’s going to be good for Ben,” said Walter Dupree, the Texas zoo’s curator of mammals.

Ben gained notoriety in February by busting out of his habitat twice.

The first time, the 4-year-old, 280-pound (127-kilogram) bear tore apart clips that attached stainless steel mesh to the frame of a door. But he was recaptured before the zoo opened for the day.

Zoo workers then added zip tie-like attachments made of stainless steel that had 450 pounds (204 kilograms) of tensile strength. But Ben managed to escape through those about two weeks later. The zoo was open this time, but he was captured less than an hour later on a public path.

Ben now lives in a nonpublic area of the St. Louis Zoo, where he can move indoors and out — and even splash in a pool — while he awaits his move.

“He’s so fun, he’s so playful — we would love to be able to keep him here,” said Regina Mossotti, the St. Louis Zoo’s vice president of animal care.

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Lindsay Lohan, other celebs settle with SEC over crypto case

Lindsay Lohan, other celebs settle with SEC over crypto case

LOS ANGELES — Actress Lindsay Lohan, rapper Akon and several other celebrities have agreed to pay tens of thousands of dollars to settle claims they promoted crypto investments to their millions of social media followers without disclosing they were being paid to do so.

Lohan, Akon, recording artists Ne-Yo, and Lil Yachty, boxer and internet personality Jake Paul, and adult film performer Michele Mason all agreed to pay more than $400,000 combined in disgorgement, interest and penalties to settle the claims, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday.

None admitted or denied the SEC’s findings as part of the settlement. Two other celebrities named in the SEC’s complaint, rapper Soulja Boy and pop singer Austin Mahone, did not reach a settlement with the SEC, the agency said.

In response to a request for comment, Lohan’s publicist Leslie Sloane said the actress was contacted in March 2022, was unaware of the disclosure requirement, and agreed to pay a fine to resolve the matter. Lohan, who last week announced she is pregnant, was called to give up the $10,000 she was paid, plus interest, and pay a $30,000 fine, according an SEC complaint.

A spokeswoman for Paul declined to comment. Emails left with representatives for the other celebrities named in the SEC complaint weren’t immediately returned Wednesday.

In the complaint filed by the SEC in federal court in New York, the agency claims the celebrities were paid to promote Tronix (TRX) and BitTorrent (BTT), both crypto asset securities that were offered for sale by three companies owned by Justin Sun, a Chinese national. Sun is the permanent representative of Grenada to the World Trade Organization and may be living in Singapore or Hong Kong, according to the complaint.

Starting at around August 2017, Sun allegedly offered to sell billions in the unregistered securities and engaged in manipulative trading, while also creating secondary markets on which Tronix and BitTorrent could be traded, according to the complaint.

“Although the celebrities were paid to promote TRX and BTT, their touts on social media did not disclose that they had been paid or the amounts of their payments,” according to the complaint. “Thus, the public was misled into believing that these celebrities had unbiased interest in TRX and BTT, and were not merely paid spokespersons.”

Many celebrities and athletes have used their influence and massive social media followings to promote cryptocurrencies in recent years, including Matt Damon, Tom Brady and Reese Witherspoon. But doing so without disclosing when they’re being paid to do so is illegal, and has landed some big names in hot water with securities regulators. Last fall, Kim Kardashian agreed to pay a $1 million fine to settle federal charges that she recommended Ethereum Max tokens, a crypto security, to her millions Instagram followers without making clear that she was paid to do so.

In 2020, actor Steven Seagal agreed to pay more than $300,000 as part of a similar settlement with the SEC, which also banned him from promoting investments for three years.

Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.

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