Seth Rich's Parents Sue Fox News Over 'Sham Story'

Retracted report suggested DNC staffer was murdered for helping WikiLeaks
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2018 9:05 AM CDT
Fox News 'Intentionally Exploited' Seth Rich's Death, Parents Say
News headlines scroll above the Fox News studios in New York, on Aug. 1, 2017.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Fox News is facing another lawsuit over its retracted report suggesting a Democratic National Committee staffer was murdered for helping WikiLeaks, this time from the man's family. The parents of Seth Rich—fatally shot in what police say was an attempted robbery in Washington, DC, in July 2016—allege the network, reporter Malia Zimmerman, and frequent Fox guest Ed Butowsky "intentionally exploited" the 27-year-old's death in an attempt to discharge allegations that President Trump colluded with Russia. Following Rich's death, Butowsky, a wealthy businessman and Trump supporter, hired private investigator Rod Wheeler to look into the case. His investigation was then cited in a May 2017 article by Zimmerman, retracted days later, suggesting Rich's death came after he leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks.

Though intelligence officials say Russia was behind the leak of 20,000 DNC emails, Sean Hannity went on to suggest people linked to Hillary Clinton had murdered Rich. Wheeler later sued Fox, claiming the network worked with the White House and invented quotes attributed to him to support the conspiracy theory. In their own lawsuit seeking $75,000 for emotional distress and negligence, Joel and Mary Rich agree the article was a "sham story" containing "false and fabricated facts" meant to portray Rich, a voter-expansion data director, as a "criminal and traitor," per ABC News and NBC Washington. The actions of the defendants went "beyond all possible bounds of decency and are atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community," the suit adds, per CNN. Butowsky tells ABC the lawsuit is "one of the dumbest" he's ever seen. (More Seth Rich stories.)

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