Parents of slain Democratic staffer sue Fox News over story

Parents of slain Democratic staffer sue Fox News over story

It wasn't until a week later, after the story received national attention, including on Fox News programming, that the network retracted the story, with a message stating, "the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed". However, according to PolitiFact, those leaked emails likely came about due to Russian interference in the 2016 election, and any claim that Rich was involved is, and was, "baseless".

Rich, a voter-expansion data director for the DNC, was shot and killed in Washington, July 2016.

In the suit, which was obtained by ABC News, Rich's parents, Joel and Mary Rich, claim that Fox News investigative reporter Malia Zimmerman and Fox News commenter Ed Butowsky reached out to the family under false pretenses to support stories that Seth Rich leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks.

"The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting", Fox News said in a retraction statement. "The pain and anguish that comes from seeing your murdered son's life and legacy treated as a mere political football is beyond comprehension" Joel and Mary Rich said in a statement.

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After mounting backlash, Fox News retracted the story in May 2017. It also accuses Zimmerman and Butowsky of "intentionally and improperly" inducing a private investigator hired by the Riches to breach his contract with the family, and alleges Fox News is guilty of negligent supervision and/or retention for the actions of Zimmerman.

Still, the theory about Rich persisted, cited by prominent conservatives like Newt Gingrich and right-wing broadcasters like Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones of InfoWars. In truth, Wheeler was working with the defendants on the story. The story had implied that Seth had given DNC materials to WikiLeaks, and that he was murdered because of it. Law enforcement officers ruled that Seth was likely killed while he was being robbed on the street. The introduction of the lawsuit states Rich's parents, Joel and Mary, are seeking justice for being "collateral damage in a political war".

"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 freaky", Butowsky told iMediaEthics by phone. It does not name Rod Wheeler, the private investigator who was cited in the retracted story, and who sued Fox a year ago, alleging he was misquoted. 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.

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