Fox Contributor Says Network Cooked Seth Rich Story At Trump's Request

Lucy Bush
August 2, 2017

A retracted Fox News story about the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was allegedly made up by the network and a supporter of President Trump to distract from stories about the administration's possible collusion with Moscow, a lawsuit obtained by NPR claims. Wheeler says that Fox News and Trump supporter Ed Butowsky sought to shift public attention away from Russian Federation and fabricated quotes to help the narrative.

Two days before the Fox article was published, Butowsky told Wheeler in a phone conversation that Trump had read the article and wanted it published immediately, the lawsuit said.

But because of his DNC ties, and thanks to baseless, "just asking questions" assertions on Fox News, a conspiracy theory took root that Rich was actually murdered by the Clinton campaign because he was the mole who'd sent internal information to WikiLeaks-a theory that would thus magically absolve Russian Federation (and therefore Trump) of any meddling in the election. Additionally, FOX News vehemently denies the race discrimination claims in the lawsuit - the dispute between Zimmerman and Rod Wheeler has nothing to do with race.

Included in the lawsuit is a text message from Butowsky to Wheeler in which Butowsky writes, "Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article".

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The discredited story, which Fox News retracted in May, suggested that Rich, not Russian hackers, was the source for the leaked D.N.C. e-mails that were published by WikiLeaks past year, and implied that his shooting death may have been part of a cover-up effort.

That is the bombshell crux of a lawsuit filed by Rod Wheeler, a former homicide detective and Fox News contributor, who was quoted in a Fox News story, since retracted, suggesting Rich, not Russian hackers, leaked thousands of Democratic party emails to WikiLeaks.

And once it was published, it become endless fodder for the president's staunchest defenders: Jones, Gingrich and, more than any other person, Fox's Sean Hannity - who ceased hammering away at it only when Seth Rich's parents implored him to stop trashing their son's name. He is said to have worked with Ed Butowsky, a Dallas-based financial adviser with connections to the White House. "This was Rod and I", he said. In fact, both Butowsky and Spicer claim that the president never actually had any contact with Butowsky or saw a draft. It is either so YUGE that it acts as a removed linchpin, revealing just how utterly corrupt President Trump and his "conservative" media sycophants really are, while causing their fa├žade to completely collapse, or it is a manipulated story meant to bilk Fox News out of lots of money. Wheeler initially appeared on Washington Fox affiliate WTTG-TV to discuss the story, but later told CNN he had no evidence to support the claim.

Butowsky told CNN that "the lawsuit is bulls**t" and said "Wigdor pulled this out of his butt to make money".

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Sanders also downplayed the revelation that outgoing White House press secretary Sean Spicer met with a Fox News contributor and a GOP donor on the story at the White House ahead of its publication.

Further, Wheeler claimed that he and Butowsky met with former Press Secretary Sean Spicer at the White House to review the story a month before it ran.

Spicer is asked about the story during the White House press briefing. But Spicer said Butowsky was just informing him of the story.

Update: Fox News responded to the allegations cited in the suit, calling them "completely erroneous". "The retraction of this story is being investigated internally and we have no evidence that Wheeler was misquoted by Zimmerman".

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Afterward Wheeler came out against Fox News, saying he had been misquoted. Fox News eventually deleted it from its website, saying in a note left in its place that it failed to meet the network's editorial standards.

Other reports by Info About Network

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