Parents of slain Democratic staffer sue Fox News over story

Parents of slain Democratic staffer sue Fox News over story

The family of murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich is suing Fox News, a reporter, and a contributor, over a now-retracted investigation that linked his death to a massive WikiLeaks data dump. The story had implied that Seth had given DNC materials to WikiLeaks, and that he was murdered because of it. Law enforcement officers ruled that Seth was likely killed while he was being robbed on the street. The objective of the story, according to the Riches and Wheeler, was to take political heat off the Trump administration as investigators probed whether Russian-backed hackers leaked the emails to advance his candidacy.

Fox News only retracted the story a week after it was published.

The lawsuit, filed in the Federal District Court of Manhattan, claims Fox spread the false story "through lies, misrepresentations, and half-truths - with disregard for the obvious harm that their actions would cause Joel and Mary".

Mr and Ms Rich said in a statement: "No parent should ever have to live through what we have been forced to endure", according to United States media. In truth, Wheeler was working with the defendants on the story.

In the article, which was published last May, Rod Wheeler, a private investigator who was hired by Fox News to investigate Seth Rich's death, found that Wikileaks, the whisteblowing website, had been in touch with him before he died.

The May 2017 story stated, falsely, that investigators had evidence showing Rich leaked thousands of DNC emails to WikiLeaks in the midst of the 2016 presidential election, just weeks before he was shot to death in Washington.

The parents of Capitol Hill staffer Seth Rich are suing Fox News, a journalist and a Texas businessman for publishing a story that portrayed their murdered son as a traitor.


The story, published May 16, went viral.

The couple is suing for intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other claims, and say they've experienced Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder because of the situation.

"Joel and Mary Rich have brought this case to hold Fox News, Fox reporter Zimmerman, and political operative and Fox News contributor Butowsky, accountable for their reprehensible actions", Leonard A. Gail, a lawyer representing the family, said in a statement.

Fox News claimed to have confirmation from two sources that Rich was a WikiLeaks informant.

Butowsky told ABC News in an interview that the lawsuit is "one of the dumbest" he'd ever seen. "Rich should come forward and be honest with people".

By April, Wheeler and Butowsky met with then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer about the Fox story - without Mary and Joel Rich's knowledge, they say.

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