Family of Seth Rich sues Fox News over retracted story

Family of Seth Rich sues Fox News over retracted story
© Getty Images

The family of slain Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Fox News and two of its staffers for publishing a story tying Rich’s death to a conspiracy theory.

The lawsuit, which was obtained by The Hill, claims that Fox News reached out to the Rich family under false pretenses to support reporting that Rich leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks.

“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 provided to The Hill.

ADVERTISEMENT
The lawsuit additionally claims that the defendants' conduct “was extreme and outrageous” and part of a deliberate effort to make Rich appear as a “criminal and traitor to the United States."

In addition to the network, the lawsuit names reporter Malia Zimmerman and Ed Butowsky as defendants.

Fox News declined to comment, citing pending litigation.

ABC News first reported the lawsuit.

Rich, 27, was shot and killed last year on the streets of Washington, D.C.

After his killing, right-wing news outlets attempted to link his death, without evidence, to the release of hacked emails from Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump mocks 'elites' at campaign rally Trump backs down in rare reversal Election Countdown: Family separation policy may haunt GOP in November | Why Republican candidates are bracing for surprises | House Dems rake in record May haul | 'Dumpster fire' ad goes viral MORE's campaign and the DNC.

Fox News published a story on May 16, 2017, that fueled such conspiracy theories. Network host Sean Hannity gave particular attention to the Rich story, both on his show and on Twitter.

The story prompted a massive outcry, including from Rich’s family.

Fox retracted the story roughly a week later, saying it did not meet editorial standards.

A lawsuit filed in federal court last August claimed the story was reviewed prior to publication by President TrumpDonald John TrumpFamily immigration detention centers could be at capacity within days: report Trump likely to meet with Putin in July: report DOJ requests military lawyers to help prosecute immigration crimes: report MORE and manipulated at the request of the White House. Fox later asked a federal judge to dismiss that case.

— Updated at 10:43 p.m.