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Seth Rich's Parents Sue Fox News Over Retracted Story

15 March 2018

Here is what's known about the murder - and how Fox News has contributed to conspiracy theories that don't align with facts. The report quoted an unnamed federal investigator who claimed to have "seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and Wikileaks" and was heavily promoted on Fox. The article linked Rich to the leak of the emails to WikiLeaks, but the USA intelligence community said in October 2016 that the Russian government was behind the hacks. The motive for his murder was never uncovered, leading media outlets to promote a string of conspiracy theories, including an allegation that Rich was involved in the leak of thousands of internal DNC documents to WikiLeaks, which later played a role in Hillary Clinton's unsuccessful campaign for the presidency.

That story, published on the Fox News website on May 16, 2017, implied that the murder of Rich on the streets of Washington occurred in retaliation for his having leaked the emails. "The pain and anguish that comes from seeing your murdered son's life and legacy treated as a mere political football is beyond comprehension".

"No parent should ever have to live through what we have been forced to endure", Joel and Mary Rich said in a joint statement. Wheeler alleged in his lawsuit that the comments were false and were put in the story at the behest of President Donald Trump to discredit investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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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.

"Within hours, however, the Fox News story fell apart when Wheeler, who is now suing Fox News over the story, told CNN he had no evidence to suggest Rich had contacted Wikileaks before his death", CNN reported.

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.

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"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. The lawsuit was first reported by ABC News.

In October, Rod Wheeler, a former Fox News commentator who is quoted in the Zimmerman article, filed his own defamation lawsuit against the news organization, Butowsky and Zimmerman, claiming among other things that the two individuals used fake quotes attributed to him. "Rich should come forward and be honest with people". Rich was shot dead on July 10, 2016.

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Seth Rich's Parents Sue Fox News Over Retracted Story