Lawsuit: Trump OK'd Fox's Unfounded Murder Story

Lawsuit: Trump OK'd Fox's Unfounded Murder Story

Rich, a 27-year-old Nebraska native, was shot dead while walking home before dawn on July 10, 2016.

"FOX 5 DC: "...that could link Seth Rich to WikiLeaks?". In May of this year, Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman claimed in a story that Rich was tied to the DNC email dump - rather than Russian hackers. Wheeler states that the network was aware that he had not made the statements yet it published them "with reckless disregard for their truth".

Fox has said it will continue to investigate the story and provide updates as warranted but has not yet said it was wrong.

The lawsuit charges that Fox reporter Malia Zimmerman and GOP donor Ed Butowsky, who appears as a contributor on Fox News shows, together created a false narrative about the death of Rich by connecting him to the DNC email leak that intelligence officials largely say was a cyberattack by Russian Federation. Butowsky said that Wheeler complained to him that he was misquoted, but that he has emails showing him approving the quotes.

Fox retracted the story after just a week, admitting it did not meet its journalistic standards. In the article, Wheeler said there was evidence that showed Rich had been in contact with WikiLeaks, but the story unraveled when Wheeler contradicted himself in an interview with CNN.

Instead, Butowsky and Zimmerman relied on a source within the FBI Butowsky learned of from investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, Wheeler charges.

As Butowsky is explaining it, a voicemail Wheeler is citing in which the donor says the story has the White House's attention was about getting whistleblower status for a Washington, D.C., detective on the Rich case.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Tuesday that the administration was in no way involved with Fox News' story regarding Rich's death.

"I've never talked to President Trump in my life", Butowsky said, denying that the White House had "anything to do with any of this".

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Wheeler alleges that the story attributed two fake quotes to him in order to push the rhetoric tying Rich to WikiLeaks, and claims that, through Butowksy, the president pressed to get the story out.

Thus, on May 14, 2017, Butowsky allegedly texted Wheeler: "Not to add any more pressure, but the president just read the article". He wants the article out immediately Its now all up to you. "It's now all up to you. but don't feel the pressure".

Wheeler's lawsuit does say that Butowsky and Zimmerman "on behalf of Mr. Wheeler, drafted a response to the Rich family's statements".

Butowsky told NPR his comments had been a joke. The two then used what Wheeler had told them to back up their Federal Bureau of Investigation source's claims - even though they'd given Wheeler the information in the first place.

Wheeler's lawsuit claims he and Butowsky met with then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer in April, supposedly to keep him updated on the investigation. Butowsky's website lists him as a contributor to Breitbart.com and he has been interviewed by Bannon on a Breitbart radio program, according to a recent profile in Buzzfeed.

"A reporter making up quotes is a very serious allegation and I don't think it matches the sort of reporter she was in Hawaii", Moore said.

In a statement Tuesday, Spicer said, "Ed is a longtime supporter of the president's agenda who often appears in the media".

Did Fox News and the White House really create fake news?

Washington D.C. police say Rich was killed during a botched robbery.

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