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

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

The Fox News report, a version of which was also shown by local Fox station WTTG, appeared to confirm a popular right-wing theory that Rich had been Wikileaks's source, despite conclusions from USA intelligence agencies that the DNC had been hacked by agents of the Russian government.

According to the suit-which came backed by texts, emails, voicemails, and recorded phone conversations-Wheeler was first contacted by Ed Butowsky, an investor and Trump backer who'd also appeared frequently on Fox.

Fox News president Jay Wallace told NPR there was no "concrete evidence" that false or misleading quotes were attributed to Wheeler.

Wheeler was quoted in the May 16 story on Fox's website saying there had been contact between Rich and WikiLeaks, whose dump of DNC emails proved a major detriment to Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Wheeler's suit says Fox News made up quotes and attributed them to him, which amounted to defamation.

The lawsuit is from Rod Wheeler, a former Washington, D.C., detective who was investigating the killing of DNC staffer Seth Rich.

Butowsky also texts Wheeler: "Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article". He wants the article out immediately.

Rod Wheeler, a private investigator and former police detective, claims he was pressured into helping "put to bed speculation that President Trump colluded with Russian Federation in an attempt to influence the outcome of the Presidential election", according to his defamation suit filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court. "We were basically telling him you are doing a great job and that the president or the White House or somebody would be interested in meeting you".

The Democratic National Committee, which has rejected many right-wing conspiracy theories about Rich's death, said if the allegations were true, "it is beyond vile" that the White House "would use the murder of a young man to distract the public's attention from their chaotic administration and Trump's ties to Russian Federation". The lawyer who filed the suit, Douglas Wigdor, said Wheeler was sacked for insubordination because his urine test showed trace amounts of marijuana.

To NPR, both Spicer and Butowsky deny that the president reviewed the story.

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When Wheeler asked to have his statements removed from the story, Butowsky told him "the quotes were included because that is the way the President (Trump) wanted the article", Wheeler charges.

DNC spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa also released a statement about the lawsuit, per NBC News, stating, in part, that "if these allegations are true, it is beyond vile".

"The president had no knowledge of the story and it's completely untrue that he or the White House had involvement in the story".

Spicer tells NPR he agreed to the meeting as a favor to Butowsky and he was informed about the story during the meeting. Wheeler has been contributing to Fox News for more than a decade, even through this weekend.

Fox News ran with the story all over the network, and only retracted it on May 23, saying it didn't meet the networks' editorial standards. "But you can feel free to say that the White House is onto this now". Following a bombshell lawsuit linking #Donald Trump back to the conspiracy in question, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was forced to speak out.

Responding to the suit, Rich family spokesman Brad Bauman tells PEOPLE, "I am just so hopeful that this really once and for all gives them the space that they need in order to grieve and gives the police the space that they need in order to actually find the killers".

"The accusation that published Malia Zimmerman's story to help detract from coverage of the Russian Federation collusion issue is completely erroneous", Fox News President of News Jay Wallace said in an emailed statement.

May 11 - Zimmerman shares a draft of her story with Wheeler.

The suit claims Butowsky hired Wheeler to investigate Rich's murder.

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