Seth Rich Murder Investigation: Did Trump Authorize Fake News at Fox News?
Earlier this week, a former homicide investigator, Rod Wheeler, filed a lawsuit against Fox News.
The lawsuit alleges that Fox News and Ed Butowsky, a wealthy Dallas, Texas based Trump supporter, met and worked with White House officials to orchestrate an elaborate story about the death of 27-year old Seth Rich, a former Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer.
Read the lawsuit filed by Mr. Wheeler here.
After the murder of Rich in early July of last year, law enforcement officials and Rich’s family believed the murder to be a result of botched robbery. Regardless of this logical conclusion, social media website Reddit exploded with posts talking of conspiracy theories that the murder was as a result of Rich’s supposed connection to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) email hack.
These unfounded conspiracy theories soon received a spot in national media coverage once Fox News personality Sean Hannity caught wind and brought them onto national television. Following Hannity’s talk-show chat, Malia Zimmerman, a Fox News reporter, also wrote and published a story delving into this alleged connection between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks.
In the lawsuit, Wheeler claims that Fox News and Butowsky created the story in an attempt to divert attention away from the Trump administrations’ connection to the Russian government and colluded with the Russians during the 2016 presidential elections. The kicker is that President Donald Trump allegedly read and approved of the story for publication.
In a text message, Butwosky told Wheeler that President Trump has already read a draft of Zimmermans’ story and “wants it published immediately.”
“The president just read the article. He wants the article out immediately,” the text message read. He also left a voicemail telling Wheeler, “The White House is onto this now.”
The bulk of the story weighs on the impact of statements made by Wheeler about his investigation into Seth Rich’s murder. According to the story, Wheeler claimed that he had discovered emails between Rich and WikiLeaks, the organization responsible for posting the DNC emails. However, in his lawsuit, Wheeler vehemently denies ever making these claims to Zimmerman.
On May 16, Zimmerman’s story was published online. Popular Fox News channels and personalities like Fox & Friends and Hannity proceeded to dedicate a significant amount of air time to advertise the story.
Five days later Fox News retracted the story.
In the two months since its publication and retraction, Fox News has claimed that an internal investigation is underway. Yet the conditions and reasoning for this ‘mix-up’ is still unclear. Many Fox News employees even agree that it is a complete mystery as to what happened with the story.
“People need to start getting canned over the [Seth Rich] thing,” a Fox News employee told CNN.
Zimmerman remains an active reporter with several published stories in the months since the retraction of the Seth Rich story.
The story went national on May 16, a few days after U.S. President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who was investigating Russia’s role in interfering with the November election.
The president of news for Fox, Jay Wallace, later said he’d seen no “concrete evidence” of misquoting.
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