Seth Rich's family sues Fox News over retracted story on his murder

A Fox News channel sign is seen on a television vehicle outside the News Corporation building in New York City in New York

The parents of murdered Capital Hill staffer Seth Rich are suing Fox News for emotional distress, claiming their coverage of the crime painted their son as a traitor and has prevented them from properly dealing with his death. The nature of his death has led to conspiracy theories that insist he was targeted by Democrats for leaking emails to WikiLeaks.

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". The Riches' suit goes on to point to programming on Fox that they claim propagated baseless assertions that their son provided the DNC emails to WikiLeaks, even after Fox retracted Zimmerman's article a week after its publication.

Zimmerman and Butowsky published a story on May 16, 2017 claiming they spoke with multiple sources who had confirmed the conspiracy theory.

"The pain and anguish that comes from seeing your murdered son's life and legacy treated as a mere political football is beyond comprehension", they said.

Mr and Ms Rich said in a statement: "No parent should ever have to live through what we have been forced to endure", according to USA media.

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Working with Wheeler, the pair then developed "a fiction" that Rich had leaked thousands of DNC emails to WikiLeaks, the attorney continued. The Riches claim that these assurances turned out to be false, and that Wheeler, Butowsky, and Zimmerman discussed and reviewed drafts of an article that linked Seth to WikiLeaks without consulting them.

The lawsuit named Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman, who supposedly worked with businessman Ed Butowsky to develop what court documents charged was a "sham" story about Rich's death in May 2017, which was also referenced on air numerous times, CNN wrote. 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.

A Fox News spokesperson noted to TPM that Butowsky was never actually a Fox News contributor.

Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that Fox, Zimmerman, and Butowsky created a "smear campaign" against the family and manipulated Rich's parents by inducing them to hire Rod Wheeler, an independent investigator Fox used to back up its claim, to help solve their son's murder. Butowsky said in an interview with ABC News that the complaint was "one of the dumbest" lawsuits he's seen, and that "Mr. and Mrs".

Butowsky said that Joel Rich had been "very happy with the article" when it was initially published. "Rich should come forward and be honest with people".

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