Fox News sued by family of dead Democratic employee

Fox News sued by family of dead Democratic employee

Fox News sued by family of dead Democratic employee

Wikileaks itself fuelled the conspiracy theory by offering a reward for the capture of Mr Rich's killer and hinting that he may have been the source of the emails.

After their son Seth Rich died, the cable network made an unsubstantiated link between his death and Wikileaks' disclosure of hacked DNC emails.

By Fox News's own admission, a retracted report last May about the deceased Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was bad journalism.

"And they published, republished, and publicized the sham story-which they knew would be covered again and again, and republished, here and around the world-painting Joel and Mary's son as a criminal and a traitor to the United States", the lawsuit states.

"No parent should ever have to live through what we have been forced to endure", the couple said in a statement.

The story said private investigator Rod Wheeler learned WikiLeaks and Rich communicated before his death.

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Joel and Mary Rich claim in a lawsuit that Fox News, a reporter and a guest commentator used "lies, misrepresentations and half-truths" in a May 16, 2017, article that claimed their son, Seth Rich, had leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks during the presidential campaign.

"The simple answer is I didn't write the article, nor did I participate in writing the article so the idea that somehow the lawsuit against me for causing emotional distress from an article that I didn't write is kind of weird", Butowsky told iMediaEthics by phone. After Fox retracted its story connecting the two, Butowsky contended that "every word" of the story was true and has continued to broadly push that theory.

Attorney Leonard A. Gail said the Riches hope to hold Fox News, Zimmerman and Butowsky accountable for their "reprehensible actions". In their suit, the Riches say they have exhibited symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder stemming from their son's death and the conspiracy theories that followed.

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. The lawsuit was first reported by ABC News. The Rich family lawsuit claims that Fox News, reporter Malia Zimmerman and guest Ed Butowsky "sought to take the conspiracy theory from the fringe to the front pages and screens of the mainstream media".

By April, Wheeler and Butowsky met with then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer about the Fox story - without Mary and Joel Rich's knowledge, they say. "Rich should come forward and be honest with people".

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