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Lawsuit Alleges Trump Pushed Fox News to Publish Debunked Seth Rich Story

02 August 2017, 12:36 | Katrina Lee

Rod Wheeler, Part of Recent Seth Rich Controversy, Seeks Fox News Trial

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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.

Wheeler, a Fox contributor who looked into Rich's July 2016 murder for the family, was brought into the case by Ed Butowsky, a Texas man and Trump supporter who appeared frequently on Fox, the lawsuit said. Jay Wallace, Fox's president of news, told NPR there was no "concrete evidence" that Wheeler was misquoted. One where Wheeler said, "My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks", and the other where Wheeler said, "My investigation shows someone within the DC government, Democratic National Committee or Clinton Team is blocking the murder investigation from going forward". It is also important to point out that the plaintiff, Rod Wheeler, clearly said things about the Rich investigation which he knew to be false (and therefore is not a highly credible person) and that his claims are perfectly created to take advantage of a narrative which the news media would be obviously very willing to embrace.

"Fox News vehemently denies the race discrimination claims in the lawsuit - the dispute between Zimmerman and Rod Wheeler has nothing to do with race", Wallace, president of News for Fox News, said in his statement to USA TODAY.

A chronicling of the events, as detailed in the lawsuit, begins with a text message from Butowsky, a Trump supporter, to Wheeler two days prior to the Fox story's publication: "Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article". Butowsky was intent on establishing a link between Rich, who was killed in July 2016 in what Washington police believe was a botched robbery, and the WikiLeaks scandal.

He then texts Wheeler to inform him that Trump read Zimmerman's article and wants it published.

Fox News eventually retracted the story claiming Seth Rich had leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee, where he worked, to WikiLeaks - which contradicted intelligence findings that Russian hackers had stolen the data.

We hope you're sitting down for this: Fox News is being sued... and it's NOT for sexual harassment! On Monday night, The Washington Post reported that the president personally dictated the initial misleading statement the White House gave about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower last summer. "I don't always know the nature of the story of which you are coming to talk to me about, but it's my job to talk to you".

Let's stipulate that this story comes about because of a lawsuit which is seeking money against an entity, Fox News, which has been inundated with legal complaints lately where they have been forced to settle out of court for big money.

It's a complicated story that is based on allegations in a lawsuit filed by a person whose quotes in that discredited story were themselves discredited.

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Before the story was published on May 16, NPR reports "Butowsky [sent] an email to Fox News producers and hosts coaching them on how to frame the Rich story".

As this is all happening, Wheeler and Butowsky meet with Sean Spicer at the White House to go over Butowsky's claims.

"It had nothing to do with advancing the president's domestic agenda - and there was no agenda", Spicer told Folkenflik.

Wheeler alleges that he was deliberately misquoted on two occasions.

The accusation that FoxNews.com published Malia Zimmerman's story to help detract from coverage of the Russian Federation collusion issue is completely erroneous.

Even Fox retracted the story after a week, after a groundswell of offense - see, Rich was murdered tragically young and was unable to defend himself.

So, no, you can't believe everything his suit says. Wheeler also said that he and Butowsky had met with former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and showed Spicer notes on Wheeler's investigation.

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

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