Rod Wheeler, an investigator and Fox News contributor, sued Fox for defamation
Fox News stand at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, photo: Wikimedia
01 of August 2017 12:57:16
NEW YORK – An investigator who worked on the Seth Rich case claims Fox News fabricated quotes implicating the murdered Democratic National Committee staffer in the WikiLeaks scandal and coordinated with the Trump administration as it worked on the story.The investigator, Rod Wheeler, sued Fox for defamation. His lawsuit, filed Tuesday in New York, lays out an explosive tale of Trump allies conspiring to push a false story to take the pressure of the Russian collusion investigation off the president, and a news organization willing to show the president its story before it was published.Fox called the accusation that reporter Malia Zimmerman's story was published to detract from the Russian investigation "completely erroneous." Jay Wallace, Fox's news president, said the story is still being investigated and that Fox has no evidence that Wheeler was misquoted.The White House had no immediate comment.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. 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.Wheeler was quoted in the May 16 story on Fox's web site saying there had been contact between Rich and WikiLeaks, whose dump of DNC emails proved a major detriment to Hillary Clinton's campaign. He also said he was quoted falsely saying that someone — possibly Democrats or Clinton campaign officials — was blocking an investigation into Rich's murder.Two days before the Fox article was published, Butowsky told Wheeler in a phone conversation that Trump had read the article and wanted it published immediately, the lawsuit said.Butowsky had no immediate comment.