Lawsuit Claims Fox News, Trump Conspired on DNC Staffer Murder Story
02 August, 2017, 00:38 | Author: Ora Austin
Did the White House and Fox News collaborate in concocting a story about the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich to deflect attention away from the Russian Federation investigation? David Folkenflik, Media Correspondent for NPR, reported on a lawsuit brought against Fox News, its parent 21st Century Fox, reporter Malia Zimmerman, and GOP supporter and investor Ed Butowsky.
A defamation lawsuit filed by longtime Fox News contributor Rod Wheeler against the network alleges that President Trump was directly involved in concocting a fake story meant to undercut the intelligence community's conclusion that Russian hackers waged cyberattacks against Democratic targets to help him get elected. The Fox story was retracted after its claims of a connection between Rich and the DNC leaks - mainly backed by quotes from Wheeler that he now claims he didn't say - came under fire for lack of evidence.
Wheeler was quoted in the story as saying that his investigation "shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks" and that "someone within the D.C. government, Democratic National Committee or Clinton team is blocking the investigation from going forward".
The plaintiff is Rod Wheeler, a Fox News contributor and former homicide detective hired to investigate Rich's death. The Fox story quoted Wheeler, who was a longtime paid contributor to the network, as a private investigator hunting down the truth behind Rich's murder.
Zimmerman let Wheeler review the article before it published, but Wheeler says the initial copy differed from the published version in a significant way-it included two quotes attributed to Wheeler that he says were made up.
"Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article". But the Washington, D.C. metropolitan police have repeatedly asserted that they have no reason to believe anything like that, and that they still believe the murder to be a simple robbery gone wrong. He wants the article out immediately. "Notwithstanding Ofcom's inquiries into Fox's ability to convey news in a nonpartisan manner, the collaboration appears only to have deepened since President Trump's Administration took over the White House".
The White House had no immediate comment on the NPR report. "I didn't know who Rod Wheeler was". "I only got that [information] from the reporter at Fox News", he said at the time. The suit says Zimmerman wanted to remove the contentious quotes, but her bosses at Fox news told her to leave them in the story. "Additionally, Fox News vehemently denies the race claims in the lawsuit-the dispute between Zimmerman and Rod Wheeler has nothing to do with race".
The White House worked with Fox News and a wealthy Republican donor to concoct a story about the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, according to an explosive lawsuit filed Tuesday.
In the suit, Wheeler describes Butowsky as an outspoken Trump supporter and friend to former Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. "It had nothing to do with advancing the president's domestic agenda-and there was no agenda".
Fox called the accusation that reporter Malia Zimmerman's story was published to detract from the Russian investigation "completely erroneous". Butowsky allegedly pointed the finger at the White House. Asked by CNN for confirmation that Rich had been discussed during that meeting, Spicer responded, "They told me they were working on a story about him and wanted me to be aware of it - that was it".
Spicer is asked about the story during the White House press briefing.
This was fake news, alleges Wheeler in a defamation suit.
Fox retracted the Rich story on May 23, saying, "The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting".
Jay Wallace the president of news at Fox News, dismissed Wheeler's claims in a statement.
May 11 - Zimmerman shares a draft of her story with Wheeler.
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