Family of Seth Rich sues Fox News over retracted story

Family of Seth Rich sues Fox News over retracted story
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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.

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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 ClintonJill Biden takes starring role at difficult Olympics Club for Growth goes after Cheney in ad, compares her to Clinton Sanders to campaign for Turner in Ohio 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 TrumpNew Capitol Police chief to take over Friday Overnight Health Care: Biden officials says no change to masking guidance right now | Missouri Supreme Court rules in favor of Medicaid expansion | Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade Michael Wolff and the art of monetizing gossip 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.