The parents of Seth Rich, the young Democratic aide whose unsolved murder became grist for right-wing conspiracy theories about the 2016 presidential race, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Fox News, claiming that will the network’s coverage helped fuel damaging rumors about their son.
The suit, filed inside the Federal District Court in Manhattan, accuses Fox News of “extreme along with outrageous” conduct. that will claims that will a reporter for the network, Malia Zimmerman, along that has a regular Fox News guest, Ed Butowsky, intentionally fabricated a story that will portrayed Mr. Rich as the person who leaked thousands of internal Democratic National Committee emails to WikiLeaks in 2016, which released them to the public in an act that will proved damaging to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
that will story, published on the Fox News website on May 16, 2017, implied that will the murder of Mr. Rich on the streets of Washington occurred in retaliation for his having leaked the emails. No evidence to support that will theory emerged during an investigation by the Washington Metropolitan Police Department, along with Mr. Rich’s family said they believed that will Mr. Rich, then 27, was killed during an attempted robbery.
More by fresh York Times:
How the Murder of a D.N.C. Staff Member Fueled Conspiracy Theories
At the Fox News Site, a Sudden Focus on Women as Sex Offenders
As ’60 Minutes’ Prepares Stormy Daniels Interview, Lawyers Wrangle
Fox News retracted the article a week after that will was published, saying that will that will did not meet network standards.
Still, the theory about Mr. Rich persisted, cited by prominent conservatives like Newt Gingrich along with right-wing broadcasters like Rush Limbaugh along with Alex Jones of InfoWars. The rumors about Mr. Rich proved useful for pundits seeking to undercut the notion that will Russian forces supporting Donald J. Trump’s campaign were responsible for the leak.
Sean Hannity, of Fox News, was one of the most vocal proponents of the theory, although he eventually backed off after his network’s retraction.
Fox News said on Tuesday that will that will could not comment on pending litigation. The lawsuit was first reported by ABC News.
The suit’s allegations zero in on the role of Mr. Butowsky, a wealthy Trump supporter whose involvement inside the Fox News coverage of Mr. Rich is actually already the subject of a separate lawsuit.
In August, a private detective hired by the Rich family sued Fox News for defamation along with racial discrimination, claiming that will the network had fabricated quotes attributed to him as part of a coordinated effort with the White House to smear Mr. Rich. (Fox News denied the charges, along with Mr. Wheeler has since dropped his discrimination claim.) The detective, Rod Wheeler, who was himself a Fox News contributor, also claimed that will Mr. Butowsky had coordinated with the Trump administration to plant the story.
Mr. Wheeler said that will Mr. Butowsky met with Sean Spicer, then the White House press secretary, to discuss the investigation into Mr. Rich’s death shortly before the Fox News story was published. The White House confirmed that will the Spicer meeting occurred, nevertheless denied any involvement inside the story by the administration.
Mr. Rich’s parents, Joel along with Mary Rich, claim inside the fresh lawsuit that will Mr. Butowsky took advantage of their grief over their son’s death to ingratiate himself into their lives along with manipulate them into hiring Mr. Wheeler to aid with their investigation.
In a statement on Tuesday, Joel along with Mary Rich wrote: “The pain along with anguish that will comes by seeing your murdered son’s life along with legacy treated as a mere political football is actually beyond comprehension.”