Statement on coverage of Seth Rich murder investigation

LinkedinSeth Rich is seen in this undated Linkedin profile

As of this writing, Fox News has declined to comment on the case, citing pending litigation. The Washington DC police haven't identified any suspects in what they believe was a botched robbery, but the killing led to accusations in conservative media that Rich - and not Russian-backed hackers - provided the emails to WikiLeaks.

Published May 16, 2017, on the Fox News website, the article alleged that Mr.

Filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NY, the suit also names Fox News reporter Malia Zimmerman and Texas businessman Ed Butowsky, who are accused of playing a critical role in the spread of the conspiracy theory.

At the time the story was retracted, Fox News said it would carry out an investigation to ascertain how the conspiracy theory was published.

ABC News reported Tuesday night that Joel and Mary Rich, the parents of former DNC employee Seth Rich who was murdered in 2016, are suing the network for contacting them and using their quotes under false pretenses. "The pain and anguish that comes from seeing your murdered son's life and legacy treated as a mere political football is beyond comprehension", the Riches said in a joint statement. Zimmerman is being sued for her retracted story for Fox News implicating murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich in the WikiLeaks scandal.

The story said private investigator Rod Wheeler learned WikiLeaks and Rich communicated before his death. The story was heavily promoted by Fox News host Sean Hannity and other conservative pundits such as Alex Jones, whose website Infowars has also promoted conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook shootings and the September 11 terrorist attacks. They claim the negative and baseless coverage of their son prevented them from processing his death and that they became "collateral damage in a political war".

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Butowsky then allegedly convinced the Riches to work with Wheeler, whom he hired under the promise that Wheeler would report his findings to them and not make public comments without their approval.

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

Sean Hannity, of Fox News, was one of the most vocal proponents of the theory, although he eventually backed off after his network's retraction.

The complaint states that in December 2016, Butowsky reached out to the Riches and mentioned a rumored connection between their son and WikiLeaks.

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.

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