Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Family of slain DNC staffer sues Fox News over retracted story

LinkedinSeth Rich is seen in this undated Linkedin profile LinkedinSeth Rich is seen in this undated Linkedin profile
Patty Aguilar | 15 March, 2018, 02:33

The family of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer whose murder was at the center of a right-wing conspiracy theory, is suing Fox News for a story it retracted previous year implying that he leaked documents to WikiLeaks. Zimmerman is being sued for her retracted story for Fox News implicating murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich in the WikiLeaks scandal. It suggested he leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks and was killed because of the leak and not a botched robbery, as police suspected.

Speculation that the White House had any role in the retracted Fox story exploded after Wheeler filed his defamation lawsuit against Fox in August 2017. They accuse the network, reporter Malia Zimmerman, contributor Ed Butowsky of working with Wheeler "to pursue and develop a fiction that Seth had leaked thousands of DNC emails to WikiLeaks.... painting Joel and Mary's son as a criminal and a traitor to the United States".

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 U.S. media.

Since he didn't write the article, suing him over it amounted to a "frivolous, baseless lawsuit".

The story, published May 16, went viral.

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The suit claims the couple has developed post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, among other afflictions, as a result of the viral conspiracy theory about Seth.

The Riches' lawsuit makes claims for conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, as well as tortious interference with the contract between the Riches and Rod Wheeler.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NY by Joel and Mary Rich, whose son, Seth, was murdered in July 2016, accuses Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman and frequent guest and political operative Ed Butowsky of "intentionally exploit [ing] this tragedy-including through lies, misrepresentations and half-truths-with disregard for the obvious harm that their actions would cause Joel and Mary". It also claims that Zimmerman provided similar information to Joel Rich, which the Riches allege was false.

Butowsky called the lawsuit "one of the dumbest" he'd ever seen in an interview with ABC News. The false claim, they said, led to their son's murder being treated as a "political football", and are suing the network, and Zimmerman and Butowsky, for their pain and suffering they say they've endured.

The other source was a private investigator hired by the Rich family, who later said Fox News fabricated quotes attributed to him. "Mr. and Mrs. Rich should come forward and be honest with people", he said.

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