GOPer Accused Of Pushing Seth Rich Conspiracy At Fox: Lawsuit Is 'Nonsense'

Seth Rich Trump Personally Told Fox News To Publish Fake Story About Murdered DNC Employee Suit Claims

He also works as an unpaid Fox commentator, and was the man this lawsuit says helped concoct the Seth Rich story and act as a liaison between Fox News and the White House.

Ex-cop Rod Wheeler, hired by a supporter of President Donald Trump to probe Rich's death, said in the suit that Fox intentionally misquoted him, and with the White House and Trump backer Ed Butowsky, used him to make bogus claims to divert attention from the Russian hacking scandal.

It alleges a May 16 article sought to promote a claim that a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer was the source of leaked DNC emails during last year's election campaign, and not Russian hackers as the USA intelligence community has said.

Now Wheeler, in his lawsuit, is coming forward with what he claims is the backstory: Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman, with the "knowledge and support" of wealthy Republican donor Ed Butowsky, fabricated a pair of quotes attributed to Wheeler. He wants the article out immediately.

Wheeler did not claim in the lawsuit to have had any direct contact with Trump or anyone else in the White House aside from one meeting with Spicer, and it relied on remarks from Butowsky rather than personal knowledge for the allegations of White House involvement. It outraged the family and was retracted by Fox News.

According to the suit, the story was meant to undermine the public's belief in the US intelligence community's conclusion that Russian Federation hacked the DNC and obtained the emails ultimately released by Wikileaks.

"It doesn't bother me that the press secretary would take a meeting with somebody involved in the media about a story", Sanders said during a Tuesday press conference, further denying any involvement by Trump. For his part, Butowsky told NPR that his statement about Trump approving of the story was a joke.

More intriguing is the alleged White House angle for the story. "But don't feel the pressure", the text said.


The May 16 article of Zimmerman was eventually withdrawn by Fox after a week of its publication, after which Wheeler corrected the wrong information, subsequently damaging his credibility in the process.

Beyond his business, Butowsky has also plied his trade as a go-to analyst for reporters and broadcasters, frequently popping up on television or in news articles.

"We're going to litigate this case as we would any other", attorney Douglas Wigdor, who is acting on behalf of private investigator Rod Wheeler, told Yahoo News.

"At no point in time did Mr. Wheeler say that his investigation revealed that Seth Rich sent any emails to WikiLeaks, nor did he say that the DNC, Democratic Party or Clintons were engaged in a cover-up", his suit alleges.

The lawsuit says that when Wheeler complained, he was told by Butowsky "that is the way the president wanted the article". Wigdor said this would include the president and Spicer.

"It's not like I have a Steve Bannon teddy bear", Butowsky said in May. "I [was] being told, 'you will ask this, you will cover this.' For instance, after the gas attack in Syria - that awful sarin gas attack - I was asked to put questions to the White House that framed the issue in such a way that made it seem like the attack didn't happen - that it was staged".

The AP reports that White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders addressed the issue today at a White House briefing.

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