Family of slain Democratic staffer Seth Rich sues Fox News

Family of slain Democratic staffer Seth Rich sues Fox News

On Tuesday, Seth Rich's parents filed a lawsuit against Fox News for the publication of a conspiracy theory story last May that portrayed their slain son as a traitor. Zimmerman is being sued for her retracted story for Fox News implicating murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich in the WikiLeaks scandal.

US intelligence officials have since debunked that theory, stating that the emails were in fact stolen by Russian state-sponsored hackers in an attempt to "interfere with the USA election process".

Wheeler himself has sued Fox News, Zimmerman, and Butowsky, claiming that an article included false quotes to make it seem that there was stronger evidence of the connection between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks than what he actually found.

Fox News's May 2017 story, which it later retracted, cited unidentified law-enforcement sources for such a claim.

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".

In a statement on Tuesday, Joel and Mary Rich wrote: "The pain and anguish that comes from seeing your murdered son's life and legacy treated as a mere political football is beyond comprehension".

Brad Bauman, an attorney for the Rich family, said: "We have no further response to supposition or theories". Unbeknownst to the family, however, Wheeler was working on an article about Rich's death with Butowsky and Zimmerman.

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.

Zimmerman's story said Rod Wheeler, a private investigator and Fox News contributor hired by Butowsky to look into Rich's death, had learned that Wikileaks had been in contact with Rich prior to his death.

On May 16, 2017, nearly a year after Rich's death, Zimmerman published a story that seemed to bolster these theories, titled "Slain DNC Staffer Had Contact with WikiLeaks Say Multiple Sources".

The complaint lists causes of action that include intentional infliction of emotional distress, aiding and abetting intentional infliction of emotional distress, and conspiracy to commit intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Butowsky said that Joel Rich had been "very happy with the article" when it was initially published.

The lawsuit names the reporter, Malia Zimmerman, and political operative Ed Butowsky as defendants, in addition to the network. "Rich should come forward and be honest with people".